Copyright and Copy Farmers

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Geribo Geta and his wife Almaz with their daughter Meskerem.

One of the big issues facing creative people today is copyright—how to protect their original works.

This isn’t a problem for conservation agriculture staff at the Terepeza Development Association (TDA) in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s region of Ethiopia—they hope their work is copied as much as possible.

With support from Canadian Foodgrains Bank through its member, World Relief Canada, the TDA is offering conservation agriculture training for farmers as a way to increase yields, improve the soil and prevent erosion.

Currently, about 1,500 farmers have adopted the new method, which asks them to give up the generations-old practice of ploughing the soil.

But if the organization, the relief and development arm of the Wolaita Kale Heywet evangelical church, is to reach its ambitious goal of 8,500 farmers by 2020 it will need a lot of copiers—people like coffee farmer Geribo Geta.

Geta, who lives in the Kindo Koysha district, is planning to try conservation agriculture for the very first time this year.

“I decided to try it after seeing the good results on my neighbour’s farm,” he says.

He’s hedging his bet, however; even though his neighbour’s results were good, he’s going to try conservation agriculture on just part of his small farm—just to make sure it works.

“I am expecting a good result based on the experience of my neighbours,” he says, standing among the banana leaves that form the mulch cover for the field.

And if it works as well as he hopes?

“I will do my whole farm in conservation agriculture,” he says, “and I will sell my oxen—I won’t need them for plowing anymore.”

For Bereket Tassew, who directs TDA’s programs in the region, Geta’s involvement is a positive sign.

“If we are to succeed in reaching our goal, we will need many more like him,” he says. “And then when it works for him, others will see the good results and want to do it, too.”