Protecting Ethiopian farmers’ progress toward food security during COVID-19

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
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“From the harvest of 205 pumpkins, I provided 70 to my neighbours who were having a food shortage,” says Asnakech Zema. “I had the same history of asking neighbours for food at times of shortage before I participated in this project.” (Photo: Terepeza Development Association)

When the pandemic began during Ethiopia’s rainy season, a crucial time for planting crops, it threatened the progress Asnakech Zema has made toward food security for her family. After learning the principles of conservation agriculture, coupled with additional best farming practices, Asnakech saw her corn yields increase from 50 kg to 550kg in 2018 on a 20 by 30 metre plot of land! She began using these techniques more widely on her farm, which enabled her to grow enough food to feed her family and share with neighbours in need, while still having surplus to sell.

“Everything has changed in the last year and a half,” says Asnakech. “We have reduced the hunger gap where we only eat one meal a day to just 2 months, and that may further reduce. All the family works together, and we will train our children to do this kind of productive conservation agriculture farming. I am so thankful for my church and TDA that led me to take this training.”

During the pandemic disruptions, Foodgrains Bank member Tearfund Canada and their local partner, Terepeza Development Association (TDA), continued supporting small-scale farmers like Asnakech as they planted crops and learned how to store surplus while maintaining safe distances and following all safety precautions.

The Foodgrains Bank is committing $3 million to support farmers like Asnakech across Africa whose food security is threatened due to efforts to contain the coronavirus. The need is so urgent that we have just come to an emergency funding agreement with the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada, which means immediate donations will be matched three-to-one to:

  • Support savings and loans groups so farmers can buy seeds and other inputs
  • Provide agricultural support services to help farmers increase their harvest
  • Assist farmers in getting their crops to market and food to their communities

With the matching funds available, we need to raise over $700,000 to meet this commitment—funds that will come only from compassionate Canadians like you.

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