Photo By: Mauricio Victa is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.
Agriculture Appropriations Bill
Sowing Seeds of Success
Abdela Mohamed Ali is a farmer and father of 10 in a small community in Ethiopia. Crops grown on his two hectares of farmland are his family’s sole source of food. For the last 35 years, he and his wife, Nasra, have diligently worked the land to feed their family.
Over the years, Abdela noticed his land was deteriorating and producing less harvest. He could barely grow 200 kg of maize from one of his two hectares. To feed his family, he was forced to take on other labor jobs and buy food from the market. He also couldn’t afford school fees, uniforms, and supplies for his children. It was a bleak situation, growing bleaker every year.
Food for the Hungry (F.H.), in partnership with USAID and Canadian Foodgrains Bank, introduced “Conservation Agriculture” (C.A.) throughout Ethiopia, including to Abdela’s village. C.A. teaches sustainable agriculture techniques, such as minimal soil disturbance through reduced or eliminated tillage, permanent organic soil cover using mulches, and diversified crop rotation.
After being trained in these farming techniques, Abdela tested a small plot of his land. It paid off.
“At last, I harvested 300 kg of maize!” said Abdela. “In previous years, I had never harvested more than 200 kg from one hectare of land.” The following year, Abdela used the techniques he learned on more land, harvesting over 2,000 kg of maize. In 2018, he doubled the size of land used, and his harvest was so plentiful that for the first time in 30 years, he needed a grain store.
“Until I started implementing C.A. principles, the produce from our farm only lasted two to three months after the harvest,” he said. “But today, my family is still eating from last year’s harvest.” Abdela even had plenty to sell at the market—earning enough to buy two cows and cover all school-related costs for his children.
“I now have a plan to build a better house, and I still need to sell my produce. You know, in previous years, I wasn’t able to buy enough school stationery or uniforms, let alone plan to build a new house! Thanks to F.H. and the new farming techniques I acquired, I have enough resources to feed my family and fulfill every need of my children.”