Approaches

Introduction of new seed varieties through demonstration plots with seed dealers [Azerbaijan]

approaches_2594 - Azerbaijan

Completeness: 86%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Oxfam GB (Oxfam GB) - Tajikistan

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?

06/09/2013

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:

Ja

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

To facilitate information on new seed varieties.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: To build trust between the seed dealers and the farmers.
To introduce new seed varieties to rural farmers that are appropriate to the growing conditions of the region. These varieties have added benefits like taste, quality, disease resistance and longer storage capacity over local traditional varieties.

Methods: The programme uses a facilitation approach to bring stakeholders together and explain the mutual benefits of working together to improve the vegetable seed value chain in the region.

Stages of implementation: 1. Discuss with the seed dealers the idea of marketing their new imported seed varieties in the community using demonstration plots.
2. Help the seed dealer to identify capable and willing community based farmers to cultivate the demonstration plots.
3. Help facilitate the contractual arrangement between the stakeholders, in this case the seed dealer provides free seed and agricultural inputs, whilst the farmer cultivates the crop with advice from the seed dealer.
4. Just before the harvest an Open Field Day is held by the farmer and seed dealer for local rural farmers to visit the site and ask questions about the crop.

Role of stakeholders: Programme Staff: To facilitate the process and linkages between stakeholders.
Seed Dealers: to provide seed, inputs and information to the land user on cultivation methods.
Farmer: To cultivate the crop to the best of their ability and provide information to local farmers.

Other important information: In this context the seed dealer also is key player in the vegetable seed value chain for providing agricultural extension services to rural farmer, however, there are issues of trust between farmers and seed dealers due to the lack of control of quality of imported seed (90% of market), lack of information in the local language, and sold after the expired date.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied

Country:

Azerbaijan

Region/ State/ Province:

Upper Karabach

Further specification of location:

Tarta / Barda / Agdam

Comments:

There are 18 demonstration plots in total each up to 0.1ha in total.

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:

2012

Year of termination (if Approach is no longer applied):

2013

2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused mainly on other activities than SLM (Intensification and improved yields)

The main aim was to introduce more effective and high yielding varieties of traditional crops to the small rural farmers of central Azerbaijan, and consequently improve their livelihood status.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: There are several key problems, including low productivity, lack of agricultural knowledge, funds for investment, large rural poverty and lack of stimulus in the agricultural sector.

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

There is an over dependence on traditional varieties of vegetable seeds and a lack of trust in the vegetable seed value chain.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: To build the trust between the seed dealer and the farmers through an evidence based process and consequently introduce better suited and higher yielding varieties.

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Traditional varieties tend to be the cheapest on the market due to the volume. Seed dealers provide rural farmers with credit until harvest time but often fail to recouperate the loans due to poor yields.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Seed dealers have increased confidence in the profit potential of new brands due to higher yields and are more likely to provide credit to farmers until harvest time.

institutional setting
  • hindering

The seed authority has a legal responsibility to inspect and certify seeds. At best this is a limited practice and does nothing to prevent the import of adulterated seed into the country.

Treatment through the SLM Approach:

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • enabling

Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Azerbaijan have very limited access to land. Many of the them live in the region of implementation of the approach. It remains to be seen if the choice of variety will help these people improve their agricultural output.

  • hindering
workload, availability of manpower
  • hindering

Many of the traditional varieties require high levels of input for cultivation to maintain yields, albeit low, and prevent disease.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: New varieties have a higher degree of disease resistance and require less agricultural inputs.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

The land users were predominantly men i.e. 15 /18, however, there was reasonable representation by women at the field days. (The three demonstration plots tended by women land users were not as successful due to their limited technical capacity)

Also disadvantaged groups are involved. (It improved the profit margins of rural land users by increasing yield, quality and storage capacity of crops. In some cases there was a 50% increase in profits in tomato, onion, aubergine and sweet pepper).

Land user provides land and labour resources for cultivation.

  • community-based organizations

Community land users attended open days to gain information.

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers

Seed dealers in this context

Provide agricultural extension services

  • NGO

Facilitate the approach

  • private sector

Seed dealers

Provide inputs and advice free of charge

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation none
planning self-mobilization the land users decide with the seed dealers on the crop to be planted
implementation self-mobilization The land user is entirley responsible for the cultivation and harvest activities.
monitoring/ evaluation self-mobilization The land user is responsible to report back the success of the project to the seed dealer and the local community.
Research none

3.3 Flow chart (if available)

Description:

The programme's role (i.e. Oxfam's) was to act as a facilitator in the process and not to provide tangible assets for the seed dealer or the farmers. It is beased up the Market for the Poor approach developed by Springfield Consultancy, UK.

Author:

S. Stevenson (Oxfam Azerbaijan)

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly land users, supported by SLM specialists
Explain:

Seed dealer and land users were brought together by the SLM specialists, the choice of crop and variety were decided between the stakeholders.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by land users supported by SLM specialists. The seed dealers provide practical advice on the cultivation techniques to the farmer.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?

Ja

Specify who was trained:
  • land users
  • community famers gain some information on the open field days.
Form of training:
  • demonstration areas
  • public meetings
Subjects covered:

Specifically on cultivation techniques, inputs and irrigation.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?

Ja

Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
Describe/ comments:

Name of method used for advisory service: Seed Dealers; Key elements: Seed variety, Cultivation, Agricultural Inputs; This is cursory support.

Advisory service is inadequate to ensure the continuation of land conservation activities; This is an informal arrangement whereby the seed dealers act as agricultural extension services, this is not their primary purpose and will only continue to do it as part of a customer service remit.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • no

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?

Ja

Comments:

Bio-physical aspects were regular monitored by project staff through observations; indicators: Output from demo plots was calculated
Bio-physical aspects were regular monitored by project staff through measurements; indicators: Quality of the cultivation was observed by project staff.
Technical aspects were regular monitored by project staff through observations; indicators: Number of land users attending demonstration days was recorded
Technical aspects were None monitored by project staff through measurements
There were no changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation
There were no changes in the Technology as a result of monitoring and evaluation

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?

Ja

Specify topics:
  • economics / marketing
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Comparitive cost benefit analysis was undertaken between the demonstration plots and traditional varieties.

Research was carried out on-farm

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • < 2,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: international non-government (facilitation, including the arrangement of the open field days): 65.0%; private sector (seeds and input materials): 5.0%; local community / land user(s) (labour and agricultural machinery): 30.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?

Ja

If yes, specify type(s) of support, conditions, and provider(s):

30% of the approach was paid by the private sector (i.e. seed dealers and farmers)

5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • equipment
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
machinery fully financed
labour fully financed
  • agricultural
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
seeds fully financed new seeds
  • other
Other (specify) To which extent Specify subsidies
Open field day fully financed Training room and lunch
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary
Comments:

Land users provided the machinery and labour. However, they also received the profit from the crops.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?

Geen

6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

It improved their crop selection and had a slight impact on their technical capacity.

Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

For 15 rural farmers that have cultivated demo plots.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

It is too early to say, however this was a primary goal of the project.

Did the Approach lead to improved livelihoods / human well-being?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

It did for the farmers of the demo plots, however, as we don't know how much impact it has yet, it is hard to evaluate the impact of the approach.

Did the Approach help to alleviate poverty?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

To what extent it is hard to evaluate at this stage.

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

  • increased production

improved production.

  • increased profit(ability), improved cost-benefit-ratio

improve profits.

  • prestige, social pressure/ social cohesion

a little from improved products

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

Oxfam will continue to facilitate the demonstration plots for another season, and whereby this arrangement will then have to be self sustained. The issue is whether the seed dealer will continue with the open fields days or rely on the famer to spread the information with regards to the crop.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
It was successful as profit from the land has been improved, and new varieties have been introduced. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Try more varieties to see how they grow.)
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
The approach was easy to implement once the stakeholders understood the idea behind it. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: The famers could develop into sub dealers for the farmers.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Availability of the seed variety in the next season is not sure. Provide positive feedback to the seed dealers that there is a demand for their product.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
It is fully dependent upon the seed dealer participating.There are also issues to ensure that the new seed variety will continue to be imported into the country and that it remains financially competitive. An advocacy event is planned to encourage importers to further develop links with the importers. Seed dealers were invited to a coordination meeting to discuss their experiences and share success stories.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all

Modules