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Ethiopia: Market-led Livelihood Program

Food for the Hungry has been supporting a program for poor rural communities in Ethiopia, helping them build resilience against poor harvests and high food prices. The program focuses on improving agriculture diversification and production and thus increasing the amount of food and income available. The activities include micro-credit, livestock rearing and marketing, dairy production, agricultural production and distribution, beekeeping and irrigation.

Success stories:

 Motorized Pump Irrigation

Ato Belayeneh Shamebo

Ato, 38, is a resident of Kemacho Borarkebele village in Shashego district. He lives with his wife and seven children. Belayneh started using a motorized irrigation pump supplied by FH/Ethiopia, along with training. He purchased it with a loan which is paid back through vegetable production.

Ato selling his tomatoes at the market

Profitable results

With this irrigation, Ato produced 1400 pounds of tomato and 9200 pounds of cabbage and sold them for $1,771. He told FH project staff members that his expenses for fuel, fertilizer, labor and other costs were $257, so his net profit was $1,514! This level of profit has encouraged him to expand his irrigation farm, and now he has leased a nearby riverside land plot. He said, “FH’s intervention has brought a radical change to our subsistence and rain-fed agriculture…I now have plans to diversify my agriculture to (livestock) fattening and garlic production in addition to vegetables.”  He added that his neighbors have also started using motorized irrigation pumps, and that in future he hopes his village will be known as a source of vegetables.

Improved Seeds

Kedir's bean harvest

Growing beans to take advantage of their short growing cycle is common practice among Alaba district farmers. The local seeds available in the market and the farmers’ traditional farming practices usually result in insufficient production (around 3-400 pounds per acre). However, for the last three years FH, through funding received from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, has been promoting and providing an improved bean variety called “Nasir”. This variety is high-yielding and is in high demand in the market. FH has been distributing the seeds along with training to selected poor farmers at twelve targeted neighborhoods. FH distributes the seeds through a revolving method: asking farmers to pay back the seed in kind and passing it on to new beneficiaries, thus having a multiplying effect.

Esuman's's new home and livestock

Esuman Kedir

Kedir, 35, has a family of ten. He supports his family from the crops he produces on his 3 acres of land. Esuman received 50 pounds of improved haricot bean seed in 2011. He planted the seed on 2 acres and applied intensive agronomic (improved agriculture) practices. He harvested 3000 pounds of produce, of which he used 500 pounds for his family’s own consumption. He sold the remaining 2500 pounds for $900.

The family invested around 70% of their earnings from the sale of beans for the construction of a new house roofed with corrugated iron sheet.  They have used the remaining income to buy oxen, a heifer and a donkey as a means of diversifying their asset base. Esuman is expecting 2300-2500 pounds from the second  round of bean harvesting.

The story of our work in Ethiopia is told in more detail on our website: