News

04.06.2024 To kick-off the new partnership with the ETH-Soil project, the Oromia Bureau of Agriculture (BoA) organised a meeting with project leader Kerstin Wilde and the existing project partners, on 27th May, 2024 in Adama, Dire International Hotel. The event’s objective was to create a common understanding of the cooperation aims among Woreda, Zonal and central officials involved and prepare for effective and efficient coordination with research partners (IQQO, Jimma University – JUCAVM).

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25.04.2024 In the ETH-Soil project, it is one of our goals to produce biochar and biochar-based biofertilizer on a large scale at minimal cost and distribute it to small-scale farmers lacking food self-sufficiency. Our partners in Ethiopia are currently producing biochar from different agricultural residues using Kon-Tiki kilns. The target is to generate over 100 tons of biochar for use in the upcoming cropping season.

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23.04.2024 Dr. Konrad Siegfried and Dr. Burkhard Wilske from the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ) visited the two villages of Kofele near the city of Shashemene on the eastern fringe of the African Rift Valley, and Dedo south of the city of Jimma in the western part of the country during a 10 days field trip in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Beyond the introduction of soil monitoring to collect evidence of the amendment effects of biochar-based biofertilizers, they met with local farmers to learn about their practices and challenges. 

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15.02.2024 On 13 February, the 2nd Soil Symposium took place at the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa. The event offered scientists in Ethiopia the opportunity to discuss current research projects on biochar-based biofertilizers. In addition to the formulation of fertilizers, the production of biochar from various biomasses and using different technologies was an important topic of the presentations. 

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08.02.2024 On 13 February, the 2nd Soil Symposium will take place at ILRI campus in Addis Ababa. Alongside inspirational keynote speaches by renowned experts Getachew Agegnehu (ICRISAT) and Prof. Sheleme Beyene (Hawassa University), this year’s soil symposium provides a platform for reasearchers and practitioners to present and exchange their experiences with biochar-based biofertilizers for the regeneration of soil fertility in Ethiopia.

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12.12.2023 One part of the ETH-Soil project is the development of a biomass-fuelled cooker that can be used in rural households to prepare food efficiently and with low emissions. From 21st to 29th November, Clement Owusu Prempeh and Jan Kossack therefore travelled to Ethiopia to meet with important stakeholders to discuss and collaborate on cookstove development initiatives. 

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05.12.2023 World Soil Day is held annually on 5 December since 2014. Each year, a focus theme draws attention to soil health and conservation. This year's theme is "Water and Soil" - together, they build the foundation of most plant life and therefore our life. In a short video, our colleague Belehem Muluneh explains why soil is of vital importance to us and how ETH-Soil helps to enhance soil health in Ethiopia.

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04.10.2023 ETH-Soil project manager Kerstin Wilde met with members of an agricultural cooperative on her trip to Sidama Region in Ethiopia and discussed soil acidification. Alongside large quantities of avocados, the cooperatives also produces coffee and other crops in organic agroforestry. The cooperative members were thrilled to learn that avocado kernels could be processed into biochar and used for soil amelioration. 

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27.09.2023 For the 2024 Soil Symposium, researchers and practitioners are invited to submit their abstracts for either poster or oral presentations. Submissions shall adress one of the following topics: soil amendment with biochar-based biofertilizers; plant growth and crop yields after the application of biochar-based biofertilizers or bioslurry, pile compost and vermicompost: exploration of potentials for loading of biochar with nutrients.

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14.09.2023 On 28th August, we welcomed partners from Jimma University and Oromia Agricultural Research Instiute (IQQO) in Leipzig who joined us for a study trip on biofertilizer production through Germany and Austria. Together, we learned about small and big innovative projects that could inspire our ongoing research in Ethiopia.

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24.08.2023 Land erosion, deforestation and a global fertilizer shortage are threads to the Ethiopian food security. ETH-Soil aims to enhance soil quality – and thereby crop yields – in the East African country. Within the project we are working on sustainable solutions employing biochar based biofertilizers that will help smallholder farmers to gain independence from fertilizer imports. In order to achieve that, we will release a second call for biofertilizer development in Ethiopia on 1st October building on a first call in the beginning of the year. The second call will focus on the development of a participatory approach to the formulation and application of biochar based biofertilizer on smallholder farms.

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23.08.2023 Betelhem Mekonnen (DBFZ), an ETH-Soil project staff member, visited the soil analysis laboratory facilities at Jimma, Hawassa, and Wachemo Universities, as well as the ongoing field experiments at Dedo (Jimma) and Fonka Woredas (Hosaena). The goal of the field experiments is to find out how different biochar-based fertilizer formulations and rates affect the soil and wheat and barley yields at Dedo and Fonka.

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09.08.2023 From 23.-28.07.2023, Prof. Bruno Glaser (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg) and Betelhem Mekonnen Muluneh (DBFZ) conducted a training on fundamental soil analysis techniques at Batu Soil Research Center. The purpose of the training was to improve the technical proficiency of researchers and laboratory leaders in operating sophisticated laboratory equipment and to enable them to adhere to the appropriate soil analysis procedures.

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04.04.2023 In the course of a trip to Ethiopia, DBFZ scientists held two training sessions at partnering Jimma University, focusing on the use of the KoBo toolbox. This is a free and open source software for creating digital questionnaires, which are very useful in the standardised collection of data and are employed in the ETH-Soil project to collect important field data.

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10.03.2023 Within the framework of the ETH-Soil project, the first Soil Symposium was organised in Addis Abeba on the 28th of February 2023. On behalf of the Oromia Bureau of Agriculture, greeting were expressed by Mrs. Shitaye Lemma. She highlighted the priorities of the Bureau and underlined the importance of more high quality organic fertilizer production for the agricultural transformation in Oromia.

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17.02.2023 WWithin the ETH-Soil project, agricultural or forestry residues are to be used as feedstock for biochar production. In Ethiopia, coffee husks are produced in large quantities as residual material during coffee production and are currently not used due to their properties. Initial experiments at the DBFZ have shown, that the selected process is generally suitable for producing biochar from coffee husks.

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19.01.2023 Land degradation through erosion and overuse are clearly visible in the Ethiopian Rift Valley during inland flights. Happily, strengthened efforts in watershed management, reforestation and agroforestry are also visible in some places. A DBFZ delegation visited the Sidama Region (16th to 18th January 2023) and gained new insights into ongoing development efforts.

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28.09.2022 In September, a DBFZ delegation was finally able to visit Jimma University in a first trip to Ethiopia. The aim was to advance planning of construction works for a biogas plant as well as experience exchange on past efforts in pyrolysis cookstove development, biochar and organic fertiliser production. The exchange also covered existing curricula and teaching capacities as well as new academic units for the advancement of consultancy, training and project implementation.

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11.02.2022 Which paths take women and girls into science, where are the opportunities and barriers for a scientific career in Germany and Ethiopia and what are the very personal experiences on this path? On the occasion of the "International Day of Women and Girls in Science", female colleagues from the DBFZ and HTW Berlin got together for a virtual discussion as part of the Ethiopia project "ETH-Soil". (GERMAN LANGUAGE)

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05.12.2021 Proclaimed by the United Nations, the Wold Soil Day is held annually on 5 December. This day is used to stress the importance of soils for food security and to raise awareness for soil degradation and its threat to humans and ecosystems. 

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06.09.2021 In the presence of the Ethiopian Ambassador, H.E. Mulu Solomon Bezuneh, representatives of the Saxon State Chancellery and project managers from DBFZ, the official launch of the "ETH-Soil" project for soil improvement in Ethiopia took place on 6 September. The aim of the five-year project coordinated by DBFZ is to improve food security in three pilot regions in the Oromia region of Ethiopia through the application of biofertilisers from pyrolysis and biogas plants.

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17.08.2021 During his visit to the DBFZ on 17 August, Member of the German Bundestag Carsten Körber (CDU) accompanied by Mr Christoph Schmitt (Saxon State Chancellery) informed himself about the scope, details and concrete research developments of the large Ethiopia project "ETH-Soil".

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