Smallholder Farmer Battles Termites, and Wins!

Written by
FH staff writer
Published on
June 27, 2017 at 5:52:00 PM PDT June 27, 2017 at 5:52:00 PM PDTth, June 27, 2017 at 5:52:00 PM PDT

Anyone who has ever spent time on a farm knows how fickle the field of agriculture is. A little bad weather, a natural disaster, or an insect infestation can derail a farmer’s work so severely that they have to start over.

Tekilu Guta knows this battle all too well. A smallholder farmer in Sasiga, Ethiopia, Tekilu’s crops need to support his family of seven. In recent years, this became impossible. Nothing he was planting came to fruition.

The land was unproductive and affected by termites,” he explained. “Much of my farm land is acidic … I couldn’t feed my family for six months.”

While Tekilu’s crops were failing, he was not only unable to meet his family’s daily needs, he also had to compromise their future. Sending his children to school became impossible. Working his own land became unsustainable. So Tekilu resorted to working for other landlords on their properties, neglecting his own land.

Tekilu knew that something needed to change, so when he heard about FH’s work in his region, he jumped on board. In 2016, he began training focused on fruit and vegetable production, environmentally sound termite control practices, and micro-irrigation diversion support.

Tekilu in his flourishing garden.

“I took improved vegetables seeds and hand farm tools from the project and started using my irrigable lands for the production of vegetables, rather than selling my labour to landlords,” — Tekilu

It didn’t take long for his newly obtained expertise to turn his family’s situation around.

“My family started consuming tomato, onion, and carrot. We even started selling to others from my farm!” Tekilu tells us. “It is a new thing to see vegetable production in my farmlands. Now, I’m feeding my family, developing income from the sale of vegetables, and supporting my children.”

Tekilu and his family no longer live in fear of a single failed crop derailing their lives. The children are once again attending school to gain an education that will offer them more options down the road. With each harvest, their future becomes brighter. With the right techniques, smallholder farming can be a thriving livelihood.

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