Improving the lives of small scale farmers
This Phase 2 project consolidates and builds upon the achievements of a DFATD funded food security and nutrition project in which CPAR was an implementing partner as part of a consortium of Canadian NGOs. Phase 1 was carried out in the Benishangul-Gumuz area in northwestern Ethiopia from 2010 to 2015. This project was developed with the goal of helping communities adapt to climate change by further improving food security and strengthening the capacity of the region to support its own economic growth.
Why this project is important
Challenges presented by climate change, along with the depletion of natural resources and soil degradation remain significant barriers to achieving sustainable food security and economic growth in the Benishangul-Gumuz area. Over 86 per cent of the population in this region experiences food shortages during the ‘lean season’ (May through October). Malnutrition is pervasive among mothers and their children, severely impacting their health. The level of chronic malnutrition (weight for height) among children is critical and almost half the children under the age of five in the BSG region are stunted, indicating acute malnutrition. Stunted growth is most common among children ages 24 to 36 months, which is a critical stage for child development. The high incidence of poverty among children undermines their growth and development, often causing life-long cognitive and physical damage.
Project strategies and objectives
- Boost agricultural production by scaling up community-based seed multiplication activities: Community-based seed multiplication initiatives allow farmers to buy high quality seeds for reasonable prices. Improved seeds lead to increased crop yields and new food crops being introduced at the community and household level, thereby improving food security, nutrition and household incomes.
- Boost household incomes via value chains and market interventions: This project will address issues of poor market infrastructure in the region by organizing small-scale farmers into marketing cooperatives and unions and linking farmers to diversified market opportunities. Farmers will also have access to credit via the establishment of village level savings and loans cooperatives.
- Improve nutrition of children under age five via the Positive Deviance/Hearth approach: CPAR utilizes the PD/Hearth approach to reduce malnutrition in children under age five. The PD/Hearth approach educates mothers on the causes of child malnutrition and provides them with local solutions. Food preparation, good hygiene and sanitation practices are also demonstrated.
To date, CPAR has:
- Increased average crop productivity for major crops cultivated in Dibate and Guba districts by 27%.
- Helped seed multiplier groups transform 2,103kg seeds into 49,200 kg.
- Supported the certification of nearly 70% of seeds produced by CPAR’s seed multiplier groups. This has increased the value of their seeds by up to 20% in the market.
- Supported the organization of 3 marketing cooperatives, which have reported over 3,000USD in profits.
- Improved nutritional status for over 500 mothers and their children.
- Helped over 400 malnourished children reach acceptable weights for their age groups.