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Addis Abeba, December 30/2020 – The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Public Health Institute, has incorporated and deployed livestock advisory and COVID 19 health advisory contents on its 8028 Farmers Hotline. The new contents are currently available in five local languages (Amharic, Afaan Oromo, Tigrigna, Wolaytigna and Sidamu Afoo).

According to United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO,
2018), the livestock sector where about 1.3 billion people are dependent
on for their livelihood contributes to 40 percent of Global
agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ethiopia’s livestock is one
of the largest in Africa, contributing nearly 20 percent of the
country’s GDP, and 15 percent of export earnings (FAO, 2019). The
livestock sub-sector supports the livelihoods of about 80 percent of
rural people in Ethiopia.

“Farmers across Ethiopia should have easy access to crucial and
relevant information for them to make informed decisions regardless of
their locations. Moreover, they should also have updates regarding the
current pandemic that is challenging the world so that they can protect
themselves, their families as well as their community. Hence, we have
decided to team up with our partners to ensure delivery of important and
up-to-date livestock and COVID-19 information to our smallholder
farmers using 8028 farmers toll-free hotline services in a way they can
easily access it.” ATA CEO Khalid Bomba said.

Dr. Fikru Regassa, State Minster for Livestock Development at MoA
said “Livestock is one of the primary assets of Ethiopian farmers with
enormous contribution to livelihood/income, household nutrition,
employment opportunity, and other social obligations. Besides, it has
been making significant contributions to country’s foreign earnings. 
Thus, it is highly important to provide smallholder livestock producers
with the necessary information and updates on improved production and
management practices, and COVID19 prevention mechanisms. That’s why we
have partnered with our key stakeholders to ensure that farmer get the
proper advisory service while at the same time protecting themselves
from the current pandemic”.

Ethio Telecom has been always our partner in supporting crop
producing smallholder farmers using the 8028 Farmers’ hotline service.
So far, the 8028 Farmers’ hotline has received approximately 46.5
million calls from smallholder farmers that has been provided by Ethio
Telecom as a toll-free service.

The 8028 Farmers’ Hotline livestock is an additional advisory service
launched to provide necessary information in four major livestock
categories: Dairy, fattening (Cattle and small ruminant), Apiculture,
and poultry (small scale commercial poultry and Improved household
Poultry). The advisory service also makes the consumption of
technologies with improved management practices in feed resource
production and utilization of proven technologies easier with little
demonstration and engagement of dedicated extension workers which has
become difficult following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cognizant of the challenges of the current pandemic, the ATA, in
collaboration with Mercy Corps Ethiopia and Ethiopia Public Health
Institute (EPHI), has launched the Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
service on COVID 19 for 8028 Farmers Hotline system users. Users can now
get COVID 19 health advisories focusing on Safe Farming, Family and
Community Interaction, Handling COVID death and Myths.

John Mundy, the Mercy Corps AgriFin Program’s Desert Locust &
Covid-19 Emergency Manager & Digital Climate Smart Agriculture Lead
explained “The role of digital channels has been critical in addressing
COVID-19 information gaps with smallholder farmers who are often located
in difficult to reach rural areas. With this in mind, we have teamed up
with ATA’s 8028 Farmers Hotline Project team to deliver best ways of
maintaining one’s own health as well as keeping the community safe from
COVID-19”. The incorporation of this service will serve crucial in rural
areas where medical services and facilities are highly scarce. It will
also be more efficient in delivering health lessons to remotely located
farmers especially COVID 19 without any need for appearing physically.

The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) has launched 8028 agronomic advisory IVR/ SMS service  in partnership the Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and Ethio Telecom after going through a five month pilot test  in 21 Woredas of Oromia, Amhara, SNNPR and Tigray in 2014. With six years of uninterrupted service, Users of the 8028 Farmers Hotline and help desk system have been accessing information about 21 crop types across cereals, pulses and oilseeds and household irrigation crops across a wide range of agricultural activities with content length of up to five minutes. Dispatch
The post News: ATA teams up with partners to deliver Livestock, COVID-19 information to farmers appeared first on Addis Standard.

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