For Bihon and Worknesh, farmers living in the SNNP region of Ethiopia, the past two years have not been easy. With the rains failing and pests and diseases rife, the crops that they would usually rely on – coffee, maize, taro, ginger, fruits and vegetables – all failed.
This was a disaster for Bihon and Worknesh, who were relying on the income from their harvest to support their family and pay their children’s school fees.
But Farm Africa was able to help Bihon and other farmers in the community by training them in climate-smart farming techniques, such as irrigation management, the use of drought-tolerant seeds and intercropping.
Back in 2001, the local government built a water channel to help local farmers move away from rain-fed farming. But as the farmers had not had any training in irrigation, they didn’t use it, relying instead on the rain to water their crops.
Bihon was initially reluctant to change his farming methods at a time when his family needed stability, but he soon found that the risk paid off.
“I thought it would be totally different from what I used to do. But it is only small changes. Now I am very much satisfied with what I have started to see on the ground… I have started to see hope for my family.”
“Farm Africa introduced us to farm crops and vegetables like pepper, tomato, onion and cabbage using irrigation. They are here at the right time.”
With improved seeds, new crops to sell at market and training in the best ways to cultivate them, Bihon and Worknesh feel comfortable that they can meet their family’s needs. And Bihon is now making plans with 70 other farmers in the village to buy new water pumps, so that they can carry on growing vegetables for years to come.