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Buzzing new livelihoods in Ethiopia's iconic Rift Valley

Ethiopia’s Central Rift Valley (CRV) is known for its stunning natural beauty. But the communities who live there often struggle to provide for their families, forcing them to turn to unsustainable ways to earn money such as cutting down trees for fuel production. Farm Africa has been supporting families to find ways to earn a reliable living while protecting their beautiful surroundings.

Meet Gebre Beshno, a 45-year-old resident of Sembero Rogicha kebele. His life took an incredible turn thanks to the CRV project. Inspired by the project’s training, Gebre decided to try improved beekeeping techniques, resulting in a remarkable increase in honey production. From a mere 6kg per hive, he now harvests six times as much, totalling an impressive 144kg of honey each season!

Encouraged by his beekeeping successes, Gebre also delved into fruit production. Using the new skills he learnt as part of the project, he planted fast-growing and high yielding crops like pawpaw, avocado and bananas, benefitting from his bees’ pollination. Not only do these fruits provide food for his family, but Gebre also sells the surplus to local businesses, boosting his income and transforming his family’s life.

And that’s not all – Gebre and his wife are enjoying the benefits of the biogas service supported by the CRV project, designed to replace traditional fuels. “...we are happy because when we use biogas there is no smoke, eye disease and irritation.” Gebre enthused. The introduction of this fuel source has significantly decreased the need for firewood, easing the burden on women and girls who used to spend hours collecting it and reducing deforestation. The waste product from the biogas tank can also be used to improve soil fertility – Gebre and his wife are using it on their fruit crops!

Gebre’s extraordinary achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. Meda Walabu University invited him to showcase his organic honey and local communities have asked him to share his experiences.

Gebre’s story is proof that diversity, both in the natural environment and local businesses, holds the key to reducing poverty and building resilience in the Central Rift Valley.

Farm Africa’s CRV Project is funded by SIDA.

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