Final B4SS Workshop in Jimma, Ethiopia (June 2018)

The Final B4SS Workshop took place at Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia on 12th June 2018. The workshop was organised by Jimma University staff, notably by Milkiyas Ahmed who has been instrumental for the success of the B4SS Project in Ethiopia. Prof Berhanu Belay has worked hard to advance biochar projects and research in Ethiopia and joined us as well. The 58 B4SS participant farmers were invited to the workshop to learn about the biochar research work that is being conducted in Ethiopia and the results of the B4SS project. The Workshop was opened by Dr Amsalu wh supervised the students that were supported by the B4SS to do biochar experiments.

Milkiyas Ahmed discussed the B4SS project achievements and ongoing activities. On average, the biochar formulation that consists of biochar produced from coffee husk, co-composted with coffee husk and animal manure has resulted in savings of about 40% NPK fertiliser. One PhD candidate and two Master students also presented the results of their biochar experiments on green beans. On average, biochar has increased the yields of green beans. Workshop participants could learn the details of these experiments during the poster session.

Before lunch, Prof Berhanu Belay had a nice surprise for us. He brought champion farmer Aynalem Teshale Ayana from Injibara to share his experience in charcoal-making combined with traditional agriculture in Injibara. The farmers in Jimma were delighted to hear about the fact that char has been used traditionally for soil improvement in other regions in Ethiopia. In order to exchange views and experiences with biochar in Ethiopia, Prof Berhanu mentioned that he will now invite Jimma’s biochar champion farmer Ibrahim Aba Fita to Injibara to talk about biochar in Jimma to the farmers in that region. Moreover, farmers and Jimma University’s researchers had the opportunity to listen to Prof Johannes Lehmann’s presentation: “ Biochar: Beyond Soil Nutrient and Water Availability”. Dr Getachew had an interesting intervention since he conducted his PhD on the effect of biochar in greenhouse gas emissions in Australia with field work in Ethiopia. After the presentations, Bayu gave us a tour to the laboratory facilities where he is carrying out biochar experiments with various students.

Similar as with the B4SS projects in other countries, Starfish Initiatives distributed Australian Burke & Willis hats to male farmers and Jimma University staff, and Aboriginal designed scarfs to female farmers who were all grateful about this gesture.

Thank you very much to Berhanu, Milkiyas, Johannes, Amsalu, Bayu, Jibril and Jimma University’s students and biochar researchers for attending the final B4SS Workshop in Ethiopia. Special thanks, notably, goes to the farmers who participated throughout the three years of the B4SS project and made a success out of it. Amasegenalo!!