Concern's irrigation programme in Ethiopia

Concern's irrigation programme in Ethiopia

Said Mohammed, 32, is a farmer in the south Wollo zone of northeast Ethiopia.

In the past three years he has reaped impressive harvests of tomato, sugar cane, maize, sorghum, onion and chilli. He has purchased two camels, that he rents out to farmers wanting to transport their produce to market, converted his backyard into a place to fatten livestock and built a substantial new house for his family.

Three years ago the picture was not so good. Saïd was a regular recipient of food aid, owned one skinny cow and one ox and harvested only one crop on his 1.5 hectare plot of land.  He inherited this land from his father, and his father from his grandfather, but as it was not irrigated his harvest was often poor. Saïd had to sell his animals in order to feed his family.

Concern's involvement

Fortunately, in 2004 Saïd’s plot fell within an area selected for irrigation in a joint venture by the Government of Ethiopia and Concern. Since then he has been working hard and now describes himself as “one of the better off farmers in the area”.

Zeneba, Saïd’s 29-year-old wife, is as industrious as her husband. She recently joined a women’s group where she received agricultural training, then swiftly used the training to plant 40 mango trees on their land. “The intention”, states Saïd, “is to make sure women are productive in the land, since we share it, and that they have power”.

Saïd knows how lucky he is. Living in a country where the population is disproportionate to the land available, at a time where climatic conditions result in so little of the land being irrigated, not everyone can be a wealthy farmer.

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