Case6Editor’s note: This is the sixth 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. 

Musteffa Aman is a 41-year-old old smallholder farmer living in Adaba Tita kebele (neighborhood) in Arsi Negelle woreda (district) Ethiopia. He has a ninth-grad education, having been forced to drop out because his family could not afford the cost. Musteffa is a father of eight children, five girls and three boys.

According to Musteffa, his life has been improving since he bought a treadle pump with the support of iDE field staff in November of 2001 for Birr 1,410 ($73)Prior to adopting the technology, Musteffa grew maize irrigated solely by rain. The yearly profit he earned from his work was scarcely enough to cover the needs of his family. iDE field officers approached Musteffa while he was irrigating some garlic using a pail filled with water from a small pond on his property. The field officers were able to communicate to Musteffa the benefits of iDE’s manual irrigation technologies, and he agreed to invest in a pump.

After purchasing a treadle pump and receiving follow-up training and services, Musteffa covered his 0.125-hectare (less than a third of an acre) plot of land with cabbage, potato, carrot, and beetroot, earning a net income of Birr 8,700 ($451) in a four-month growing period.

With the diversified, higher-value crops Musteffa was able to grow after installing his treadle pump, his gross income of Birr 10,235 ($531) consisted of the following:

  • Cabbage                     Birr 3,100
  • Potato                         Birr  4,004 
  • Beat Root                    Birr  2,331
  • Carrot                          Birr    800  

Musteffa’s cost of production for these crops totaled Birr 1,535 ($80), including the following:

  • Cabbage seed              Birr      20
  • Potato seed                  Birr      25 
  • Carrot seed                  Birr      40 
  • Beetroot seed               Birr      40
  • Treadle pump               Birr 1,410

Thus, Musteffa earned an additional Birr 8,700 ($451) in one growing season. He used the increased income to construct three iron-roofed houses on his land and sent two of his children to school, which required renting a house near the school because it lies nine kilometers away from their home. For the first time, Musteffa and his family are consuming a balanced diet that includes vegetables. Musteffa was encouraged to expand his business by hiring laborers and has a plan to complete his education.  


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