Editor’s note: This is the fifth of seven case studies from the files of iDE Ethiopia which we’re posting here to spotlight the human reality that motivates our work and gives it meaning. The people featured in these vignettes are the true heroes in the fight against global poverty.
Efa Kusha, 45, is a smallholder farmer living in Dugda woreda (district) in Derara kebele (neighborhood), Ethiopia. He has a family of 20, consisting of his two wives and 17 children (4 females and 13 males).
Efa depends on a small, 1.5-hectare (3.7-acre) plot of land to grow rain-fed maize, and another 0.125-hectare plot that he uses to grow kale and pepper, which he irrigates with a bucket.
The income Efa received using merely rain and bucket irrigation barely allowed for farming at a subsistence level. While in this situation, Efa could not support his household’s basic needs and he and his family had to work as daily laborers in the nearby community to earn enough money to survive.
After getting the necessary information and advisory service from iDE (International Development Enterprises) field staff, Efa bought a rope-and-washer pump in September of 2009 on a loan basis from a local microfinance institution. With the pump, Efa covered 0.25 hectares of his land with high-value vegetables such as fasolia beans, kale, and chili peppers.
Efa’s gross income from the vegetables was Birr 9,060 ($471). This included Birr 7,100 from the sale of kale, Birr 1,100 from chili pepper, and Birr 860 from fasolia. His cost of production included the purchase of the rope and washer (Birr 1,500, or $78) and the cost of seeds and fertilizer (Birr 245), for a total of Birr 1,745 ($91).
According to Efa, his wives and children are now fully engaged on their own farm. The family is now able to eat a balanced diet, in contrast to the previous years, when they were malnourished and working as daily laborers. With the additional income, Efa’s family can see health specialists and purchase school uniforms and educational materials for their children. Moreover, his family is motivated and confident. Efa has a plan to expand the business with a motor pump in the future.