Some years ago, a Dutch entrepreneur started a vegetable farm in Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia. Through imported seeds from Holland and by making good use of the circumstances in Debre Zeyit, this farm grew high quality crops for which a big market existed and expanded production and activities. Local people were involved in crop production and were stimulated to improve their own lives with good food and spiritual enrich their lives with the Word of God. That was the start of the Genesis farm.
At this moment, the farm has many activities and links with other local farms. Vegetables are still grown: seeds are imported and the crops grow at the more than 100 hectares of the farm. Crops are irrigated with a driplet-construction on the banks of Lake Hora. Besides crops, the farm has stables with laying hens, a chicken hatchery and cows. Feed for the animals is grown and processed on the farm and the manure is used for the crops. Over 600 of the local people are employed to take care of the farm and the surroundings of the farm are now filled with activities. A shop sells the products near the farm and products are transported to Addis Abeba and Nazreth, two nearby cities.
As business is still going strong, new investments are made for building chicken stables at a new part of the Genesis farm, called the Maranatha farm. Six new chicken sheds will be built during the coming months. Tom showed me around and told be about the plans for this farm. He is in charge of constructing the sheds.
Two of them will be used to rear chickens from one day old up to 17 weeks of age. Some of these chickens will be laying hens at the Maranatha farm and the others will be sold to local farmers. There is a big market for eggs and local farmers can have some chickens near their houses and use the eggs for their family or sell them at the local market. This is especially for the women a very good way to earn an extra income without leaving their houses. The farmers can get training at the Maranatha farm to learn more about feeding, housing and marketing of these hybrid chickens, as that is not the same as they know about the local chickens running around their houses.
Besides the activities to produce more and better quality food for the people, the persons working on the farms can learn more about The Bible and God. The managers at the farm are all Christian and believe that religion can improve the lives of the people as well. So morning prayers are open to everyone and The Bible is read. This gives some of the persons working on the farm an extra motivation to work for example the whole day in the burning sun in the fields. As it is not obligatory, everyone is free to believe whatever they want, but can chose to know more about Christianity if they want. Impressing how religion and food can give people good hope for the future in a practical way through these farms.