Backyard farming – Send a Cow project

Five years ago, Send a Cow Ethiopia and a local NGO started a project

High yielding irrigated crops are now grown

High yielding irrigated crops are now grown

around Ziway to supply water pumps and training to farmers to grow irrigated higher yielding crops on their fields. As the farmers lived around the lake Ziway, there was enough water available, however, through the pumps they could use it for irrigation of their fields, which was not possible before. This project was very successful and many crops are grown in this area in a self-sustaining way.

Some years later, Send a Cow and the local NGO wanted to improve the livelihoods of the local people who didn’t have fields to grow crops in the same area. They started to give training on growing some crops in the backyard of the houses of the people and told about using small water pumps to irrigate these crops. By themselves, the backyard people noticed that there was a big demand of the bigger farmers for seedlings for their fields and started to grow these seedlings. Now, already 60 households grow seedlings in their backyard and another 141 households will start doing it. There is still a big demand for the seedlings and more and more farmers and middlemen are coming from other places to buy the seedlings in this town for their fields. Besides, the backyard farmers can now buy their own land to grow the crops themselves.

Proudly showing his backyard with seedlings

Proudly showing his backyard with seedlings

One man told he started up growing seedlings three years ago. He borrowed 2500 birr (little more than 100 euro) from a bank. With this money he bought a small water pump and installed it and bought seeds. After two months, his seedlings were sold to the local farmers. With the money he earned, he could pay back the loan to the bank in one time. Now he has four or five harvests of seedlings a year and opened a small shop near his house as well.

Before the people grew the seedlings in their backyard, most of the men were a daily laborer and had to work in the fields of other farmers. If there was no work for them, the men would sit and wait, drink some beers or other drinks and couldn’t do anything. Now the men stay around their houses and can get their own income, without depending on others to hire them. As the training of  Send a Cow included gender balance, hygiene and other social components, the lives of the whole families have improved.

Most Ethiopian backyards still look like this

Most Ethiopian backyards still look like this

buying a water pump can make a big difference

buying a water pump can make a big difference

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