At the world-leading academic institution for Agriculture and Forestry, six Ethiopian agronomy experts joined a 2-week training program to learn more theoretical and practical knowledge in regards to soil management at Wageningen University.
The participants work at three different agricultural institutions in their home country, namely the Ethiopian Horticulture and Agriculture Investment Authority (EHAIA), Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and Southern Agriculture Research Institute (SARI). The training was led by the chair of the Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality group prof.dr. Rachel Creamer.
The trainees were eager to study and committed to gaining as many skills as possible. Besides learning about new methods that have not been introduced to the African country yet, they were exposed to laboratory experiences with modern equipment. Their goal is to transfer the new acquired information to colleagues in Ethiopia in the hopes of reaping the benefits of Ethiopian soil. By organizing training sessions on their own to share their learning experiences with colleagues across the agricultural institutions, they are excited about the potential positive impacts on Ethiopia’s environment.
While the training mainly focuses on European soils, much emphasis was put on the importance of exploring African soils. At the moment, they miss classification systems that make it more difficult to test and analyze soils accurately. Moreover, the teaching experts highlighted issues related to differences in access to clean water as well as temperatures across the European and African frameworks.
One of the participants noted the importance of learning from field practitioners and the training’s indirect effect on the expansion of his social and professional network. Despite the physical distance, contact will be kept ensuring helpful advice to both parties. He is optimistic about the opportunities that can be realized through the investment into a sustainable relationship with Wageningen University. Prof. Creamer also expressed her commitment to continue their professional cooperation and is potentially interested in a follow-up training with either herself or one of her colleagues to Ethiopia.
On their day of departure, the visitors conclude that the training was beneficial on multiple dimensions because they were partially based on the soil management gaps that currently exist in Ethiopia. With the help of IOM’s CD4D, the experts were able to better understand what is needed to improve soil management in the Ethiopia.