Promoting Modern Farm Practices and Gender Equality in Ethiopia – Yetubie and Belete’s life has transformed – their farm work, their standard of living, their relationship, and their family life. Now, they are Change Agents and an example for other households to strive for change. Side by side, picking ripe coffee cherries, they proudly recall how their success came about, how their work used to be, and how it is now.
Change from traditional to modern farming techniques brings higher yields
About the CAFE Project
Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa. Approximately 2,2 million smallholder families are engaged in coffee production with coffee as their main cash crop. Many of these smallholder farmers face a range of economic, social, and environmental problems which threaten their livelihoods and jeopardize the development of the individual farms.
Tapping the market leads to a change in the living standard
Yetubie reports that after enrolling in the program and acquiring essential skills, with the changes put in place, they have begun to produce better quality coffee. They sold it at a higher price which increased their income. Speaking of the experience, she says, “When our income increased, we bought furniture. Now we sit on chairs, sleep on a bed, renovate our house, and fulfill other basic needs. We bought our son a Bajaj (a three-wheeler used as a taxi), with which he earns his livelihood. We gave our daughter capital and a small coffee farm, and she also started earning a living. Our other children are in the university, high school, and elementary schools. We created a five-year plan and have reached most of its goals! The only thing remaining is buying a car; soon, we will have that too. Thanks to the hard work and the support of the project, we are living our dream.”
In addition to coffee and the cultivation of other crops such as maize, wheat, and pepper, Yetubie and Belete engage in cattle fattening, beekeeping, and dairy production. In the last year alone, the couple earned 200,000 ETB (around $ 4,000) in profit from all agricultural sources of income. The couple did not even know what their income and expense were before the intervention. They say, “now we plan, record our income and expenses and know what we are going to do with our profits.”
Gender equality entails shared rights and responsibilities
Belete explains that this approach has made life easier for the family, adding, “I look back at our past life experience with some regret.” Yetubie even admitted – rather uneasily, “Before applying gender equality in our home, I didn’t have access to our money, so I would sell some products secretly without telling my husband to cover my expenses. Now even our children have learned to discuss, plan and work together and life in our home is getting better and better.”
Abebanesh added that in the GHA, HRNS implements comprehensive training with the help of an exemplary family. It makes the changes in their livelihood visible and puts them into the position to mentor other households. Yetubie and Belete are now such an exemplary family – they are change agents. And they inspire fellow households to strive for change.
Yetubie tells proudly, “We have a session within the FFS that meets on the 21st of every month. At that time, we discuss good agricultural practices, gender issues, climate change, and other concerns. We teach the community to plant trees to overcome climate change and soil infertility. We want to teach the whole community to implement gender equality, too. One family at a time, we plan to change a wider community. In the future, we would like to see equal gender participation in every business and household in the whole country because we are change agents!”