|Organization Name:||Tearfund Canada|
|Project Title:||Innovative Market Solutions Project (Wolaita Zone, Ethiopia|
|Purpose of Investment:||To help 1000 Ethiopian farmers develop strategies to get their products to market.|
85% of Ethiopians rely on agriculture. With a changing climate and harsher droughts, crop yields had plummeted. It was common for people to eat only 1 meal a day for 5-6 months (lean season) as food became increasingly scarce. Tearfund Canada, in partnership with the Terepeza Development Association (TDA) has seen incredible success among Ethiopian farmers in recent years in reducing food insecurity.
In the past 3 years, our partner TDA -the development branch of the Wolaita Kale Heywet Church in Ethiopia- facilitated the training of over 7600 farmers on Conservation Agriculture. This training equipped farmers with the knowledge and techniques to farm within drought conditions. Farmers experienced huge increases in their yields, 100-300% more than in the years prior. This transformation impacted whole communities, helping to address food insecurity issues among rural families in Ethiopia.
Despite the success of increased yield, farmers continue to face two big challenges.
After a long lean season, families are desperate to turn a portion of their harvest into cash. Even though farmers are experiencing higher yields than ever, they sell much of their harvest immediately. Because thousands of farmers do this simultaneously, prices drop significantly.
It is widely accepted that if stored, up to 30% of a farmer’s harvest will be destroyed by pests and mold. As a result of a lack of storage solutions, farmers are much less likely to store their crops to sell later –even though they miss out on significant profits that could be made if they sold throughout the year.
Yet, a group of innovative farmers are determined to change this.
Recently, in the small village of Shomma, community members gathered at the local church to hear from Mesele Madebo, a local farming hero. Mesele shared that a farmers’ group (the first of its kind) is being launched in their village.
In 2017, Mesele was one of the first farmers to join the conservation agriculture training program in Shomma and in just 1 year, his crop yield increased by 271%. His success inspired him to teach others at his local church to do the same.
However, he soon realized that despite their success, they were not reaping the full benefits of their harvests. They were being ripped off by market traders who made much higher profits from their crops. Change is necessary and they are determined to work together to create it.
Over the next year, Tearfund will work with 1000 innovative farmers in 40 pilot farmer co-op groups to address their market needs and improve storage options. We will train and implement strategic market practices that build capacity and profit margins among rural farmers. We will provide them with access to low-cost storage bags (PICS bags) that will drastically minimize post-harvest loss.
A strategic investment of $59,800 will enable farmers like Mesele to access a sustainable way out of poverty; increasing food security and improving the health and wellness of entire communities.
- Establish 40 pilot ‘farmer co-op groups’ of 25 farmers each in the Wolaita Zone, Ethiopia by the end of the project.
- Train each farmer group on strategic market practices and business development skills so that:
a. Farmers understand the value of selling their harvest throughout the year instead of immediately post-harvest and learn how to add value to the quality of their crops in the market.
b. Post-harvest loss from rats, weevils and mold (observed in both the quality and quantity of stored harvest) is reduced from approximately 30% to less than 5% with the implementation of PICS bags. (https://picsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/PICS-Overview-October-v2-2018.pdf)
- Increase the sales revenue of all the farmers in the groups by a minimum of 25% by the end of the project.
*Content provided by Tearfund Canada