Irrigation and Diversification Bring Farmers Success
Agriculture in Ethiopia is characterised by small-scale subsistence and rain-fed production systems where crop and livestock yields and economic returns are very low. Without irrigation, smallholders are very vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which is already seen in rising temperatures and possibly also in shifts in rainfall patterns.
The climate-smart agriculture project in the Southern Nation Nationalities Peoples (SNNP) Region of Ethiopia run by Farm Africa and its partners Self Help Africa, SOS Sahel Ethiopia and Vita aims to help more than 44,000 smallholder farmers adopt farming practices that are resilient to climate extremes, boost productivity and help them engage in more profitable value chains.
The project is helping farmers in many ways, including harvesting and storing water for use in irrigation, planting drought-tolerant crops with shorter production cycles and higher yields, and integrating agriculture with drought-tolerant animals such as goats. In addition, the project is building links between farmers and higher value markets.
Bihon Ondaye, from Boloso Bombe woreda, used to produce maize, teff, coffee, haricot beans and ginger, but in 2015 he lost most of his crops due to disease and drought. Farm Africa advised Bihon to start farming pepper, tomatoes, cabbages and onions using irrigation.
Despite initial apprehension, Bihon realised that climate-smart agricultural techniques only involve small changes to traditional farming, yet have the potential to both save him energy and significantly boost yields. He now has fields full of crops, and is optimistic he will be able to achieve good prices at harvest time.
“I have started to see hope for my family to increase income because Farm Africa has taught me climate smart agriculture technologies,” he comments.
Farm Africa project staff have also helped him to understand the current market value and income potential of the crops.
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