Koppert Foundation supports Ethiopian farmers

Published 2020
In 2019, the Koppert Foundation supported Nuru International and Nuru Ethiopia to enable 300+ farmers, 4 farmer-owned cooperatives, and Hidota Cooperative Union to pilot an agricultural development program that aimed to:

  1. diversify on-farm crop systems
  2. increase household income, and
  3. provide cooperative businesses with more diverse and viable revenue streams in remote rural communities.

Thanks to Koppert Foundation’s investment, Nuru was able to achieve all three of these goals during the pilot.

The pilot program delivered mung bean and groundnut input packages on loan to participating farmer-owned cooperatives coupled with direct to farmer training and extension services in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia. As a result, participating smallholder farmers realized extra household incomes of $155 USD per quarter hectare. A significant impact for remote Southern Nations smallholder farmers with limited land like Mr. Fargo Ganibazo from Wuzete Primary Farmer Cooperative. The national per capita income which includes urban areas is $790 USD in Ethiopia. Fargo’s participation in the cash crop program has enabled him to save, to budget, and to be better equipped to care for his family in the midst of challenges like healthcare needs (e.g birth of a child).

The Nuru cash crop program used demonstration plots to increase the knowledge retention of farmers and worked with local Ethiopian government agencies to revitalize existing but under-resourced farmer training centers, so community members have a location to observe the soil and yield benefits of better agronomic practices, including contour farming, crop rotations, alternative organic fertilizers, and early land preparation. These demonstration plots yielded an average of 1,9 ton/ha of groundnut and 1,4 ton/ha of mung bean, and mung bean farmers achieved a yield increase of 37%. Groundnut production was met with challenges due to erratic rainfall during the 2019 rain seasons, but farmers still achieved an average income of $177 USD after repaying their loan. This significant increase in income combined with better land stewardship translates to hundreds of families and their farmlands being healthier and stronger in the long-term. It also lays a strong foundation and justification for future scaling of this cash crop program.

In fact, despite desert locust outbreaks and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nuru Ethiopia team is on track to scale the cash crop to 600 farmers in 6 cooperatives due to its strong adaptive management systems, the support of engaged partners like the Koppert Foundation, and investments of time and resources from a growing network of like-minded agencies.

For more information see nuruinternational.org/where-we-work/ethiopia/

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