Feeding six hungry and growing children, aged 1-14 was becoming increasingly difficult for Safene and Aynalem as their crops were not producing enough to sustain the family. Both with limited education, the couple depended on agriculture, and lacked opportunities to become less reliant on the land for their livelihood.
Given their location in a dry, hot valley, the family was struggling to yield sufficient crops. Limited rain and increasing drought meant that their crops of chili peppers, maize, cassava, sorghum, taro and banana were often scarce. Despite a concern about their food security, they held onto hope.
Things began to turn around when Safene witnessed a conservation agriculture training from a staff member. Although his wife was skeptical, he was ready to apply the principles taught and watch his crops thrive. Sure enough, as they implemented the practices they learned, they began seeing an improvement in their crops.
Learning methods to conserve moisture in the soil, Safene and Aynalem were able to expand their crops to include lablab and pigeon peas. Despite an infestation of armyworms this harvest season, Safene and Aynalem were able to protect and save their crop with insecticides. With the success of their crops, Aynalem is able to save two birr per week. She has plans to receive more training and eventually take out a loan.
This family has a simple yet appreciative message to the Tearfund Canada and CFGB donors: “God bless you all, you are the reason for giving us the privilege to do conservation agriculture. We were burning mulch without concern for the effect, but now we are using it for CA and getting better yields! Thank you very much.”