Trees for Food Security Project– A successful Mid-Term Review

The Trees for Food Security (TFS) project Mid-term review (MTR) was successfully conducted in Ethiopia between 8th and 10th November 2014. The review, led by Tony Bartlett, The Forest Program Manager in Australian Centre for International Agricultural research (ACIAR) and Mellissa Wood, Director, Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC) comprised of two days’ trip to TFS project sites in East Shewa and West Shewa zones of Oromia State. This was followed by a one day workshop held in Addis Ababa. Also present for the review were project representatives from ICRAF, CIMMYT, project partners from Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda, representatives from Woreda and Kebele agricultural offices as well as the local farmers.

TFS project Mid-Term Review participants pose for a group photoDevelopment agent tours one of the TFS project participatory trials
TFS project Mid-Term Review participants pose for a group photoDevelopment agent tours one of the TFS project participatory trials

Being the largest funded project under AIFSRC, the ‘Trees for food security’ project is aligned towards integration of trees on farm to enhance food security for resource-poor rural people in Eastern Africa through research that underpins national programmes to scale up the use of trees within farming systems in Ethiopia and Rwanda and then scale out successes to relevant agro ecological zones in Uganda and Burundi.

The review brought to light project’s achievements viz. effective baseline data collection, healthy partnerships among relevant institutions – CGIAR, NARS, NGOs, local partners and farmers, well designed methodology and research activities, quality data from the analyses and most importantly widespread social acceptance of trees on farms. Project staff and partners were applauded for the commendable work whose results were observed during the review.

A field excursion in the West Shewa zone during the MTRFrom left: Mellisa Wood, Catherine Muthuri and Tony Bartlett during the MTR field excursion in East Shewa zone
A field excursion in the West Shewa zone during the MTRFrom left: Mellisa Wood, Catherine Muthuri and Tony Bartlett during the MTR field excursion in East Shewa zone

One of the key outcomes of the midterm review was the approval of an additional AUD 150,000 via AIFSRC to supplement key activities. Further discussions held during the review focused on the essential need to scale up the research using Rural Resource Centres (RRCs) which will enhance strengthened extension systems as well as providing avenues for knowledge sharing and dissemination. As a way forward, research on biophysical constraints such as soil and water conservation structures, quality germplasm and tree-crop interactions should be completed in order to further inform on research, policy and national scaling up programmes.