Sixty Ethiopian farmers stood and listened intently as Asnakech shared her experience.
They were learning from her, a woman, on how they too could dramatically increase their yield by implementing new farming practices.
Three years ago this scene would have never even crossed Asnakech’s mind. “I could only feed my family for three months from my farm, for the remaining nine months, I used to suffer,” she recalls.
Although the family had 1.5 hectares of land, the soil was unproductive.
A spark of inspiration
Without food and money, Asnakech’s children eventually dropped out of school. To eat, the family started to collect firewood to sell. “This all worried me a lot,” Asnakech says.
One day Asnakech was invited to attend a farmer presentation featuring a woman named Felekech. Felekech’s crops were vigorous! She explained how something called conservation agriculture (taught by the local church) transformed her farm.
Asnakech was sold. Her husband, less so. He thought it useless to try another method, what would change? But with the help of her children, Asnakech went to work, implementing everything she learned. Now it was time to wait.
A bountiful harvest
The harvest was transformative. Asnakech and her family harvested TEN TIMES the amount of food. “Imagine, I used to be able to feed my family with our crops for about three, maybe four, months. But thank God, I can now feed my family for at least ten.” Her husband was impressed, and decided that from now on they would both be involved in future decision making.
“When I think about the change in my life, overcoming struggles, feeding my children, and getting better clothes, resuming their schooling and watching them score good marks, and being promoted to the next grade, this makes me happy,” Asnakech says.