This dramatic improvement in the four districts where Concern works in South Wollo, with a combined population of over 704,000 people, is the first since this hunger “hotspot classification” measurement system was introduced in 2000.
“This incredible success has broken the cycle of dependence on emergency relief and restored dignity and hope in areas that have been hit by recurrent disasters,” said Concern’s Ethiopia Country Director, Eileen Morrow.
It is very challenging to increase the yield of crops in high altitudes. Very little can thrive at 3,000 metres, but the Irish potato has proven to be a rare exception. When I first visited our projects there in 2016 during a major drought in the country, it was a real surprise to see potatoes growing so successfully at an altitude that had me struggling to breathe.
Eileen said the Irish potato was key to solving the biggest challenge faced by the highland population of Ethiopia.
They began piloting potato production for food 12 years ago with just 16 farmers in the Dessie Zuria district and have since scaled this up to more than 12,000 farmers.
“We improved the varieties of potatoes available – namely Belete, Gudeni, and Jaleni,” said Eileen.