How Gudina Turned His Farm Around With Organic Farming

Written by
Bedilu Asmare
Published on
April 3, 2024 at 3:32:54 PM PDT April 3, 2024 at 3:32:54 PM PDTrd, April 3, 2024 at 3:32:54 PM PDT

Robust beets and onions are just two of the new veggies feeding Gudina’s family and earning a healthy income.

When farms fail

Like the majority of men in Sasiga, Ethiopia, Gudina farmed for a living. But he was facing a crisis he didn’t have the tools to overcome—year-over-year, he saw his harvests declining. The soil was depleted and simply could not produce what it used to. At the same time, fertilizer prices soared and he could no longer afford to buy them, making his predicament even worse. 

A failing farm had real consequences. 

“Low productivity of [my] farmlands affected my family as I could not feed them properly.” Gudina explains.

As the portions on their plates dwindled, malnutrition began to take hold of his children. With low production also came decreasing income as Gudina could no longer harvest enough from his crops to sell in the market. 

The pressure he felt was immense. “Because of [our] low income, I could not support my children at school,” Gudina shares. “I was in a state of confusion on how to plan my future. I lived my life as a farmer—I couldn’t imagine [doing] any other work! I felt angry, restless, and a lack of hope.”

When soil flourishes, futures flourish!

Gudina was out of options. So when the opportunity arose in 2015 to take an FH Ethiopia agriculture workshop along with other farmers from the community, he jumped on it! 

“I joined FH and learned organic compost preparation, vegetable and fruit production, and conservation agriculture.” Armed with new—and affordable!—growing techniques, Gudina got to work and had incredible results. 

"I could reclaim my land that I was once hopeless about. With [these] practices, I could produce abundant food!” he exclaims.

“I earned a remarkable harvest from [my] vegetable and maize farm over the last five years. This year alone, I earned [more] from just onions produced organically than my total earnings in the days I was struggling with chemical fertilizer.”

Gudina’s maize (corn) production is booming!

In addition to intensifying his farming, Gudina also took workshops on how to raise livestock, establish a private plant nursery, boost coffee production, and keep bees. These additional skills all provide income that’s helping him send his children back to school. The future is looking bright to Gudina: “I am hopeful that my children will have the chance to attend university and come back to support this community.”

And it’s not just their education that’s improving. Gudina proudly shares, “I found that my family’s health improved after eating vegetables! My children are happy and healthy as we feed them fresh vegetables all year long.

Through capacity building trainings like agriculture and health workshops and savings groups, the community’s work ethic has shifted. People used to see agriculture as a backward, “traditional” vocation, but now, like Gudina, they see it as a viable and vibrant livelihood. And where parents used to send their children to school long after the starting age, they now head to classes as soon as they’re able. “All these [old practices] are currently just memories,” Gudina remarks.

“The change in my life and in my community has made me hopeful that, with the skills we learned and with God, a better tomorrow awaits us.”

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