April 23, 2012
Scaling up agriculture / introducing mini-tractors
In Hintalo Wejerat wereda,including Hidmo-mayhaidi watwrshed, traditional farming runs for thousands years back. The solitary means to plough farm land is an ox-driven type. This is common even for the whole households of the village and the region. This day there is a startup in transformation to mini-tractor supported farming systems through youngsters, especially EC/CAFOD/SCIAF/TROCAIRE female youth beneficiaries.
Amlesu Welderifael, 22 years old, completed grade 10 and lives with her family. She is one of the members of the cooperative engaged in the tractor operation. She is landless and had not any means of income generating activity after she stops her school.
To create job opportunity for her and her friends, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) in partner with EC/CAFOD/SCIAF/TROCAIRE, brought mini-tractor under the innovative livelihood project. Then the watershed committee and local representatives identified targeted youngsters, to organize themselves into 20 members (14 females and 6 males) in two groups (10 each) and REST gave 4 tractors for both.
Amlesu, a single, was one to participate in the training session and said “immediate after enrolment I trained all about tractor operating techniques, cooperative principles and other related concepts. The training helps me to operate the tractor easily and effectively. It helps also to develop skills and work behavior.”
In the beginning, Amlesu together with the cooperative members, rent tractors to local farmers by 120 Birr a day. After a while, the rent amount increases to Birr 160. She explained the mini-tractor renting condition as “though it is short duration and new technology to us and our village, it will bring good future market options in the near future. One day, as cooperative, we gained 1,400 Birr for a day from a tractor rent. This shows the future direction will be better than these days.” After she got the tractors, her income boost to 3,000 Birr a year.
Kisanet cooperative members agreed that, 30% out of the daily total income rent would be given for labor perdium. The laborer must be from the cooperative members. Now the cooperative saved a total of 9,772 Birr.
In the future, Amlesu aimed to bought her own tractor and then to scale up the work in her village as well as to neighbor villages.
Poultry gives hope to needy women.
Abrehet Kelelew, 41, lives Adigudem town (ketena 3), Hintalo-Wejerat wereda about 40 Km far away from Mekelle. She is women-headed house hold with four children, a girl (Harifeya Mehari, 19) and three boys (Welegergis, 26, Tesfay 23, Mulugeta Mehari 16). Her first son, Welegergis Mehari has graduated from medical school. She is literate to read and write.
Her livelihood depends on cropping agriculture. She harvests only once a year, during the rainy season. In times of good harvest, she earns around 800kg various crops. For lack of any eye-opener she continued to live with the same momentum up to the end of 2009. She used to use no other source of income including loans for agricultural inputs.
Abrehet said that “my dark age is opened by EC/ CAFOD/SCIAF/TROCAIRE supported Relief Society of Tigray /REST/ project. She added the innovative livelihood project enabled me to be organized on cooperative and to other see livelihood sources such as small scale poultry production /farming. The project helped to the cooperative though: trainings (cooperative principles, business skills, and small scale poultry production systems), small scale hatchery unit construction and equipment and supply improved egg trait.
In the first round the cooperative got 840 eggs from the project. Out of this, they able to hatch 690 chickens, and from this Abrehet got 20 chickens to grow up in her house. The process continued in the same way, and in 6 rounds she got 90 chickens. Abrehet and her members got astonished for this much free support and efforts of the supporters. “Internalizing their concern for the poor, I decide to work too hard and bring change in my livelihoods. In effect, I start to supply a minimum of 60 eggs/2 weeks to our cooperative for 2 Birr/egg which is to be hatch and/or supplied to other localities such as Adwa and Mekelle agricultural research institute. Moreover, I leave eggs to hatch and grow in my private home. As a result I start to earn a net monthly income of 540 ETB” said Abrehet. She also remembered that she and her families are enjoying delicious chicken ‘Doro wot’ and egg.
Now Abrehet has improved her food security and livelihood sources from the poultry project. She has the capacity to do whatever she wants in the areas of poultry production.
To backup this fact she said “before the project I used to fear to all business types except the rain fall dependent cropping. Substantiating the project supports and lessons I bought a total of 1,500 chickens with about 13,000 ETB in three rounds from Mekelle poultry farm and sold with reasonable profit to nearby locality after adlib fed. Look the difference; it is too big and invaluable achievement in my life. I satisfy all needs of my children especially in area of education. Starting from nothing, now I have 10,000 ETB in my account. This is an inspiring life change.
Speaks her future plan she says “I already finished the process to buy modern sofa with 6,000 ETB. I am also ready to prepare business proposals of animal fattening, shoat etc. When I think about this project I remember my past life and the challenges that had been faced me and my family.”
In general, the cooperative which organized with 60 members has a total of 40,015 ETB in their DECSI and commercial bank accounts.
Enriching animal feed – untapped potential
G/kidan Girmay, a single and 23, lives with her mother in Maidelaeta watershed, Adua wereda-- 9km far away towards the West. He is landless youth and depends on her mother’s 0.25ha plot of land for survive. For long dry period spells and early cessation of rainfall, he harvests around 300 kgs of various crops per year which let the household for more than 5 months food gap. Therefore, to fulfill the household’s food gap, he interrupted his schooling and started to exercise other sources of income including daily labour, participate in food for work, crop-sharing with farmers who do have land near to irrigation sites etc. Still he could not peel out his and his mother’s poverty. Since he had never decent life before, he has no any dream how to tackle the problem and guess good future.
As the Maidelaeta watershed is one of the most environmentally degraded localities that leave its residents to poor livelihood sources, the EC/CAFOD/SCIAF/TROCAIRE supported REST projects prioritize it to intervene the ‘Promoting innovative livelihood’ project in 2009. Fulfilling all the project’s criteria to be enrolled, he got organized under the processed fed supply and fattening cooperative which comprises 15 members (9 females and 6 males).
Gebre-kidan asserted that “the project has supported us with exposure visited supported trainings (such as about fattening systems, urea molasses block making and cooperative principles), 25 quintals concentrate, 10,000 lt. molasses, constructing fattening house, and Birr 112,280 seed money to purchase startup oxen. We have started fattening of 10 oxen and selling of molasses.
The sale’s status shows that 28,000 Birr with a net benefit of 700 Birr/oxen, and this indicates the promising trends of the business we are running. Tangible results are rising. Substantiating these results, experiences and opportunities, we are working on expanding our farm through the sales and net benefit.” And Gebre-kidan confirmed his feeling by hopeful expression and face as “I am looking forward to get flourishing future using today’s mirror.”
“Had it been possible to rejuvenate…”
Wro. Tiblets Gebre; female-headed household and 50 years old, lives in Bel’ate-adihana watershed of Hintalo-wejerat wereda in Tigray 42 kms far way from Mekelle towards the south. Her family size is 8, where 3 of them are females.
Before the project, mainly after her husband’s death, she was experiencing a misery life. For early cessation and long dry spells of the rainfall, and no irrigation schemes to keep on the crops growth, she was harvesting less than 1000 kg of various crops/1.5 ha/year resulting in 6 months food gaps. To fill the gaps, w/ro.Tiblets and her able-body children were working as daily laborer and food for work activities. Her children were experiencing an on—and –off class attendances, detaining, and even dropping out.
Moreover, she was borrowing from local lenders and rural credit institutions for food consumption. She says “I never remember a year when I did not take loan from any sources”.
While she was experiencing this destitution for almost half of her age, the EC/CAFOD/SCIAF/ TROCAIRE assisted REST project in collaboration with local stakeholders identified and prioritized her locality as one targeted watershed. Fortunate enough, when the watershed committee, technical experts and local community representative together, prioritize potential sites for water harvesting structures, the most appropriate site was found to be aside of w/ro. Tiblets’s plot of land.
Soon after the construction of the structure aside to her plot, she got training and exposure visits pertinent to irrigation water management, cropping calendar, irrigation profile and agricultural produce marketing. On top of full maturing her rain-fed crops, this water harvesting check dam enabled her to produce various cash crops (cumin, black cumin, coriander, tomatoes, cabbage and potatoes). The technical support and training she got from the project also helped her to boost productivity. The long lived misery was also good opportunity to work hard. She rectified that “I get more than 5000 kg of various grains from the irrigation supported rain-fed season, and 14,000 Birr from sales of cash crops planted during full irrigation season.”
Word in word she asserted that “In sum, this success enabled me to be fully food secured, send my hildren to school with no absentee and dropping out (including the older one to get diploma from private college), own livestock (2 cows, 2 oxen, 2 donkey and 2 stallion), buy 2 motor pumps (to help pump out water when the irrigation water decreases and to rent in plots from unable households where their plots are far away from the water structure), save 1400 Birr, 1 bed, a radio and mobile.
Confidently, she told us that she has a plan for the coming year to expand her irrigable plot renting-in capacity and purchase house in Adi-gudom—central town of the wereda.
Finally, looking up to the sky (her GOD), she said that “had it been possible to rejuvenate I would be successful and a millioner female.”
“A hopeful dawn…”
Tadele Wendmu, 35 and landless, administers 5 family members (2 males and 3 females). He lives in idmo-maihaidi watershed of Tabia Ara-asegeda in Hintalo-wejerat, Tigray regional state. This watershed s highly degraded and populated. Here, getting small plot of land for youths is un-expectable. Thus, his ife entirely depends on non-plowing activities such as petty trade, traditional livestock trading, daily aborer and other non-decent works. Since he was gallant of the EPRDF party, he gets Birr 200 as onthly pension. In sum, he gets around 10000 Birr to feed his 5 family members.
Life is hard for Tadele. He is characterized as the poorest youth in the watershed resulting in poor performances of his children though he sends them to school. Although striving privately to win the harsh life tremendously since the onset of his marriage, he found it difficult.
Fortunately, in 2009, a hopeful dawn for him came in to exist. The watershed where he lives got higher priority for development by the EC/CAFOD/SCIAF/TROCAIRE assisted REST project. And since no one poorer youth than him, the watershed committee nominated him to be enrolled to the Buruh-Tesfa processed fed supply and fattening cooperative which consists of 15 members.
The project helped for Tadele and his members in trainings (such as fattening systems, urea molasses lock making and cooperative principles), 25 quintals concentrate, 10,000 lt. molasses, constructing fattening house, and Birr 112,280 seed money to purchase startup fattening oxen. Calling REST and its donors as father, Tadale said that “having this full-packaged capacity, we have started selling processed molasses feed to the locality and fattening 10 oxen in our farm. From the sale of the processed feeds and monthly membership contribution, we have accounted 36,020 Birr. And dead surely, we will start selling our fattened oxen starting the coming Easter—2012—by getting around 3000 net benefit per oxen.” Tadele has coined his feeling as “hopeful dawn for prosperous future.”
Recommending the same opportunity for other poor and landless youth, Tadele asserted that “recognizing the hopeful dawn their cooperative is requesting to the local administration to provide them additional land to expand the farm. Moreover, sharing the experience from our farm, other farmers have started fattening activities.”
Self call for graduation
Knife Asgedom, 53, and his wife Tsehaynesh Tesfu, 47, EC/CAFOD/SCIAF/TROCAIRE assisted REST beneficiaries from Mai-delaeta watershed—9km far away from Adwa town towards west. His family size is nine (2 male and 7 female), namely Etenesh 30, Tesfay 29, Yohanes 24, Letebrhane 21, Almaz 18, Askale 15, and Aster 12.
Though endowed with potential for irrigation development, the watershed community including Kinfe had been suffered from early cessation of rainfall resulting in food insecurity. Remembering back his pro-project years, Kinfe asserted that “due to early cessation of rainfall I was getting less 50% of expected production. I was harvesting not more than 12 quintals from 1.25 hectare leaving me with 6 months food gap. And hence to fill my families gut, as the local communities’ experience, I was migrating to west part of the region and/or engaging daily laborer in Adwa town. The worst thing was that my elder children were absenting and dropping out from schooling to support me in earnings.”
Knife elaborated how he involved in the project as “in 2009 the project came to watershed and start construct water harvesting check dam a bit above my plot of land. My elder children and I started to participate in food for work activities during the structure construction.
As usual, the rainfall of the coming season ceased early. And all farmers who do have land near to the check dam started to irrigate as supplementary irrigation which enabled us to boost our production by more than half in comparison to previous years. Besides, soon after harvest I sow cash crops (tomato, potato, pulses, onion, cabbage and maize) on full irrigation pattern that enabled me to get a net benefit of 20,000 Birr.”
Self-assuredly, he ratified that “to be fully involved on irrigation I request myself graduation from PSNP. Complimenting my children’s spire of time, I am now completely engaged in irrigating my plot. These days I can say I am better off, in effect I send my children to school including to higher education, and I possess 2 cows, 4 oxen, 2 stallion and ten sheep.” Moreover, he bought cell phone for facilitating his marketing activity, beds and corrugated house.
Currently, Kinfe has rented in 0.5 ha of land in irrigation areas and bought a motor pump to lift up water from the water harvesting check dam when it become difficult for direct flood irrigation using gravity.
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