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Abdulkadir's story

Like with so many farmers, water depletion and lack of irrigable land stopped Abdulkadir Somo from achieving his full potential. The 33-year-old has been farming crops and vegetables in Bale zone, Ethiopia for many years, practising rain-fed farming as well as irrigation.

Several factors have limited his productivity, particularly a lack of agricultural inputs and land access issues. With his one-hectare plot of land, Abdulkadir struggled to provide for his wife and two children. Whenever his income from the crop production was too low, he took on work as a daily labourer.

Farm Africa supported Abdulkadir to gain access to a plot of irrigable land by a river where he could achieve greater yields. Using a water pump generator provided by the project, Abdulkadir can now grow maize, onions, cabbages and other crops and vegetables.

He has become one of the most successful farmers in the village, earning a profit from irrigation farming. “I was able to earn 12,000 Birr growing onions, cabbages and maize,” Abdulkadir said. “This was only from the first round.”

“The project helped me get farming inputs and above all, together with the local administration, it supported me to get farming land. This is a great help to enhance my productivity.”

Abdulkadir used to produce just teff and sesame, earning no more than 10,000 Birr a year. “But now, since I am growing maize and vegetables through irrigation, I am able to earn near to 24,000 Birr. On the first production season, I grew two quintals (200kg) of onion intercropping with maize. I produced tomatoes as well.”

However, big challenges remain: the drought affecting eastern Africa and high inflation both pose significant risks to Abdulkadir’s livelihood. “The biggest problem is we are not having rain here due to the ongoing drought. It seems similar to the one I have witnessed ten years ago.”

Though water depletion is a major issue, Abdulkadir wants to be part of the solution. He is playing an active role in water conversation, planting fruit trees, including mango and avocado. He has a dream to see his surrounding area covered in forest and to never endure a drought season again.

This is one of a series of stories from the Bale Eco-region Phase II project featured in our May 2022 update on the project (PDF 4.1 MB).