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Deputy Chief of Mission, the Embassy of USA in Ethiopia, Mr. Peter V rooman, paid a visit to Bahir Dar University to strengthen the existing cooperation and to discuss new areas of partnership between US universities and Bahr Dar University.

Briefing the visitors on the present status of Bahir Dar University, BDU’s President, Dr. Baylie Damtie, said on the event that Bahir Dar University is determinedly accomplishing a lot in the realms of research, teaching and learning and community services to realize its vision of 2025. “The University encourages research and researchers”.

In relation to redressing gender imbalance, activities of supporting the participations of female students in classrooms as well as different females capacity building projects are undergoing, Said BDU’s Director of Gender Office, Mrs. Rediet Mesfin.

BDU’s outreach program is presently undertaking multiple community-based projects such as ICT, sanitation, city master plan, energy and services in Bahir Dar town.

Model village creation and other activities related to agricultural extensions, specifically connected to the dissemination of best practices in rural technology, have been the priority, highlighted Dr. Baylie Damtie.

Bahir Dar University is presently engaged in outreach programs related to introducing young elementary and secondary school students to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The university has a general vision of creating a “We can do!” spirit through encouraging innovation and creativity.

Bahr Dar University previously had a partnership with different colleges and universities in USA some of which are Cornell University, Boston College and MIT, Howard University, Kansas State University, YCF PLC and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Among the attendees of the discussion were US Embassy Spokesperson, Information and Press Affairs, Mrs. Katherine M. Diop, Director, Information Resource Centre (IRC), Public Affairs Section, Mr. Teklemichael Tefera and BDU’s Acting Vice President for Information and Strategic Communications, Mr. Moges Abraha.

BDU’s CASCAPE project has contributed in increasing produce and productivity through naturalizing, expanding and making research based selected seeds and technologies accessible to farmers.

The project, designing different useful packages, is presently working to create healthy and productive farmers.

On a research symposium with Regional Agricultural Research Institutes and governmental and non-governmental aid organizations working on selected seed development, CASCAPE has outlined the pros and cons of its future plan.

CASCAPE has been providing farmers with practice-oriented training on research based technologies and selected seeds as well as the preparation and use of Rhodes grass that could increase agricultural produce.

Recording effective research outputs, CASCAPE disseminates them among farmers through practical demonstrations, said the project’s coordinator, Dr. Yihenew G/Selassie.

BDU’s CASCAPE project, along with different stakeholders, has performed practical demonstrations on Rhodes grass, Sweet lupine, belete potato and food barely to farmers in South Achefer, Mecha and Dera woredas.

Research on ICT-based Marketing Information System

Institute of Economics Research (IER), at BDU, jointly with Bureau of Trade and Transport (BoTT) of the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) has conducted an ICT-based Marketing Information System (IMS) needs assessment on Mecha and Fogera woredas.

The objective of the study was to assess and analyze the opportunities and challenges of implementing ICT-based MIS in Mecha and Fogera Woredas of the region and to propose a better ICT-based MIS.

ICT-based MIS helps farmers in planning production to meet market demand and negotiate prices on equal footing with wholesalers and retailers in relation to procurement, marketing and distribution. It also helps to reduce the risks and lower the transaction costs of farmers and other actors in the agricultural value chains.

The study has shown that the existing system was not designed based on predefined MI model, and it has technical and functional drawbacks.

Thus, to meet these challenges, the study has proposed new Integrated Market Information System (IMIS) for the bureau in general and the two Woreda’s in particular. The new system will support web, SMS and voice communication for MI dissemination and delivery.
The system will be full-fledged and fully functional to disseminate and exchange information. It will be expandable and upgradable to the specified sites based on capacity and demands enabling the office provide regional, national or global wide market information delivery.
The system will provide permanent data storage and analysis. The system will provide online data encoding using smart-phones or computers. It will also provide MI using multiple interfaces like web, voice and SMS.

The system will provide MI based on location and context of users. Specific information on market prices, market price trends, production inputs, supplies and demands can be searched using the system. Supervision for policy makers and administrators in addition to having interface to integrate with other software systems will be offered by the system.

Four students, two from electrical, one from mechanical and one from civil engineering departments of the Nyala University of the Republic of Sudan are paying a visit to Bahir Dar University. The objective of the visit of the Sudanese students was to conducting a collaborative research project in the field of engineering with their counterparts in Bahir Dar University. Ethiopian mentors will be assigned to the visiting students, and they will be starting their project swiftly. The result of the project is expected to be presented in the 2015 Tana High Level Forum on Peace and Security in Africa. Ethiopian students of engineering will also be visiting the Nyala University. Exposed to the Ethiopian situation, the Sudanese students will be sharing their experiences with their fellow students in their home country’s university. The student exchange of this type would strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two higher institutions and sister countries, Ethiopia and the Republic of Sudan, at large. Bahir Dar University has previously signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nyala University of the Republic of Sudan to work together in teaching-learning, research and cultural relations

BDU’s Economic Research Institute partnering with Bureau of Trade and Transport (BoTT) of the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) has conducted a research on Marketing Information (MI) challenges of some of the selected horticultural products, onions and potatoes with a specific focus on Mecha and Fogera.

The researchers, focusing on the market information challenges observed from pre-harvest to postharvest periods, have conducted the study on farmers, retailers, consumers, brokers, traders and wholesalers. Organizations directly or indirectly involved in the dissemination of information have also been considered.

The study has unveiled that the MI communication strategy was very much hierarchical, lengthy and inefficient, and it was also difficult to convey timely information to target groups.

The major challenge revealed was that the existing means of communication didn't have a mechanism to check whether the information system is serving the farmers or not, or even whether the information is actually reaching the targets or not. Due to this, the communication strategies were proven to be inefficient. In addition, the communication strategies were not research-based.

To deal with these challenges, the following recommendations were made. MI can be provided through permanent regional radio in magazine format. The Regional Television can be used to provide MPI to traders, brokers and consumers singling out onions and potatoes. A mobile phone could be used for MPI.

The President of Bahir Dar University, Dr Baylie Damtie, made a discussion with the 2014 summer outreach program trainees of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Sharing the experiences of great minds in Science, Dr. Baylie has inspired and encouraged the students to exert necessary efforts to conquer their destinies.

It has been indicated that the training offered to the students by the university is meant to be supplementary to the students’ previous backgrounds.

Issues related to the delivery and relevance of the training has also been addressed. Some of the student trainees have indicated that the present training would help them acquire new theoretical and practical skills.

BDU’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Incubation Centre has organized the 2014 summer outreach program intended to introduce young Ethiopian students to science and technology. The training focuses on selected grade 7-11 students who have good academic standing in mathematics and science. This year’s training targets six important fields of study in natural sciences: Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Electronics, IT, Physics and English Language. A comprehensive manual and state of the art technology is being used to offer the STEM training to the students. The training, with the motto: “In every child, there is a scientist” is being offered to 400 students who were drawn mainly from three zones of the Amhara National Regional State. Students from Benishangul Gumuz Region were also given the opportunity

BDU’s Research and Community Services Vice President Office in collaboration with the university’s Biotechnological Research Institute has offered short-course training on Molecular Biology Laboratory Techniques to a group of individuals from different fields of Natural Sciences. The objective of the training was to strengthen the effective use of the state of the art regional laboratory for advanced scientific experimentation purposes such as DNA extraction. It was also stated that the training could boost plant and animal production in Ethiopia. The training was organized and facilitated by Professor Leshtaw Gedamu a Molecular Genetics Professor and Researcher of Calgary University, Canada. Professor Leshtaw Gedamu is an Ethiopian in origin. Building practical scientific skills through collaboration with foreign researchers and research institutes could strengthen the effort of Bahir Dar University in technology transfer, BDU’s Vice President for Research and Community Services, Dr. Tesfaye Shiferaw said on the event. The trainees were drawn from Jimma University, Gondar University and Debre Markos University. BDU is presently conducting 37 research projects in the area of Biotechnology alone.

BDU: The University’s research team mainly from Institute of Economics Research in cooperation with Amhara National Regional State Bureau of Trade and Transport (BOTT) has conducted research on Marketing Information (MI) emphasizing on agricultural produces, especially Onion and Potato. The project particularly focused on practices and challenges of Marketing Information and their solutions. On a validation workshop aimed at discussing the research findings and setting direction on their future applications, BDU’s economics research team, other nongovernmental organizations as well as concerned governmental stakeholders have partaken. Modernizing marketing system by filling internal and external gaps through scrutinizing the challenges and opportunities of best practices in a centralized, ICT based and organized manner to enhance poverty reduction through economic growth has been recommended by the research team. Given that the most of the society is oral in character, radio and mobile communications would play a crucial role in Market Information dissemination. It has also been recommended that building a tradition of using interactive and variety format is imperative in the production of radio and Television programs. Using practical applications of new ideas and seeking relevant strategies and providing continuous support to the sector, practical result could be obtained. Enormous potentials of the universities in the region have to be exploited. “No strong nation without trade.”

BDU: Bahir Dar University’s President along with staff from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences sat with a group of researchers from different universities in USA to discussion a project on post harvest grain loss minimization in Ethiopia.

Briefing the delegates on Bahir Dar University and its premises, the President of Bahir Dar University, Dr. Baylie Damtie, has indicated that BDU is eager to work with the team in areas of research and academic capacity building as well.

In Ethiopia, the project will be conducted in collaboration with institutions that are centers of agricultural studies. Bahir Dar University is one of the higher institutions in Ethiopia that has been chosen to partner with the project team.

The project will be conducted with the aim of revolutionizing postharvest loss management in Ethiopia based on technological identifications and surveying of four commodities.

The work of the project will also focus on promoting small scale businesses, participatory projects, capacity building, and training postgraduate students.

Proposals will be produced jointly with local universities. Other avenues of collaborations between Ethiopian and US Universities would also be explored.

USAID selected four countries in the world to invest 8.5 million USD on the project of minimizing post harvest grain loss. Ethiopia is one of the beneficiaries of the project.