Promising Potatoes in Ethiopia!
Farmers in Abo Yayebena village, Ethiopia, have been experiencing poor harvests each year as a result of limited access to adequate supplies and the use of inefficient farming practices.
W/ro* Ketemu Feyissa is no exception. At 35 years of age, she has four sons and three daughters. She and her children work extremely hard in hopes of a successful harvest that would provide them with enough food to last throughout the year. Unfortunately, her small farm was under producing year after year.
W/ro Ketemu joined the Dire Qufa Farmer Field School group in hopes of improving her crop production by learning from, and with, her fellow Farmer Field School members. Having received 100 kg of potato seed and through practical, hands-on training about agronomic practices and management of the potato harvests, w/ro Ketemu was able to harvest about 2,300 kg of potatoes.
Pleased with the record-breaking size of her harvest, w/ro Ketemu looked ahead towards her next challenge. She lacked the practical experience in storing such yields efficiently and safely. Through the Dire Qufa Farmer Field School, she began to work with Diffuse Light Storage (DLS) technologies to fill this gap.
Diffuse Light Storage (DLS) is a post-harvest technology that uses natural indirect light instead of low temperature to control excessive potato sprout growth and reduce associated storage losses. It is a low-cost method of storing seed potatoes in thin layers on shelves for proper aeration. This has been found to extend their storage life and improve their productivity providing a new opportunity for poor farmers to preserve quality seeds.
W/ro Ketemu is now reaping the benefits of her hard work . In this production season, she has been able to sell potato seeds to community members, as well as store large quantities of her potato harvest; almost 1,500 kg! W/ro Ketemu said, “my life has started to change since my group members and I have learned how to farm vegetables and increase our farm’s income.”
Proper nutrition, the importance of education and health and safety are also addressed through the Farmer Field School group. W/ro Ketemu is now able to feed her children potatoes as well as other vegetables and send them to school! She has also been able to earn enough income to build her family a larger, safer house.
“With this income, my life has started to change for the better! I bought eucalyptus poles, rafters, purlins and 50 corrugated iron sheets to construct my new house”, said w/ro Ketemu with delight.
*W/ro is a sign of respect for women in Ethiopia and is always put in front of the first name.