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Vegetable and food production

img_story_ethiopia2.jpgWorke Bagide, is 35 years old and a member of Komend vegetable and fruit producing Farmers Field school (FFS), along with 18 other women in her village of Komed, in Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia. The Komend vegetable and fruit producing group was established through the Women-Led Community Food Security & Nutrition Project supported by the Addax and Oryx Foundation. This project is promoting the establishment of home gardens as a low cost and convenient way to increase household access to nutritious food and income generating opportunities. All members of the group are recently resettled farmers with limited access to cash and land like Worke. Worke and her fellow group members grow staple crops like maize, sorghum and finger millet as subsistence farmers and previously lacked the skills required to produce enough food to meet their needs. Skill training on improved vegetable production along with the provision of seeds (carrot, onion, lettuce, cabbage, beetroot, Swiss-chard and potato) helped Worke to start vegetable production around her home.

Worke took to vegetable production well. After her first harvest, she began feeding vitamin rich vegetables to her family. She also sold her surplus produce, grown on only half an acre of land, to earn CAD $206 over the course of three months. The double benefit of increasing access to nutritious foods at household level and improved income sources has great potential to positively impact the food security situation in Worke’s community.

When asked about the changes in her life since joining the project, Worke explained, “This training has made a big difference in my life. Once I started selling vegetables, I took control of the income I earned and was able to spend it as saw fit. I decided to use my earnings to pay my children’s school fees and health expenses. I used to earn money selling firewood but it was never enough to cover my household expenses. I had to travel great distances to collect wood and then travel to the market to sell it. Now I cultivate my vegetables close to home and am earning more money than I was before.” Worke is excited by the possibilities before her. She is planning to set aside money and save up to purchase an ox, which she will use to expand her vegetable production and further increase her earnings to invest in her family’s future.