Helping families in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania learn to grow more food
Did you know most people who face hunger in the world are farmers—and that half of these farmers are women?
Despite their hard work, they experience hunger for several reasons:
- Their farms are small—most work with two hectares of land or less.
- They have to deal with harsh and erratic weather conditions.
- They struggle with drought, government instability, depleted soil, and lack of market access.
- They lack resources and training to improve their farms.
When families don’t have enough food, it means they may not be able to afford to send their children to school. They may not be able to afford medicine when they are sick. And if they have a bad farming year, it could force them into debt, or into selling their land, making it harder for them to eventually escape the cycle of poverty.
Scaling-Up Conservation Agriculture in East Africa: 2015-2020
With support from Global Affairs Canada, Foodgrains Bank members Mennonite Central Committee Canada, Tearfund Canada and World Renew worked with small-scale farmers in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia to improve their farming techniques so they can produce better and more sustainable crops for their families.
Through this special program, farmers learned how to use conservation agriculture—a way of farming that emphasizes minimal soil disturbance, soil cover, and crop rotations and associations—to make sure their land is productive for years to come, and to better cope with drought and unpredictable weather.
Some highlights from the program:
After learning conservation agriculture, coupled with additional best farming practices, Asnakech saw her corn yields increase from 50 kg to 550kg on a 20 by 30 metre plot of land. Asnakech has made a lot of progress in achieving food security for her family. Now, Foodgrains Bank members and their partners are working with farmers like Asnakech to protect this progress during the pandemic.
For Matefie Mega, a small-scale farmer in Ethiopia, conservation agriculture means no plowing. Matefie learned to intercrop pumpkins and maize, and spread crops on her field to keep moisture from evaporating. The process gave Matefie more time for her other chores, while she watched her crops grow tall and productive.
“As Canadian farmers know, a strong agriculture sector is the foundation of a strong economy. Conservation agriculture is giving households in East Africa the tools they need to move out of poverty, and allowing them to produce enough food to feed themselves as well as having food to sell to others.”