Farming as a way out of poverty

Thursday, 09 September 2010

Berdale district in the Bay region bears the brunt of the civil war in the country. Most of the people here are agro-pastoralists or run small businesses. A UNDP Area Based Early Recovery (ABER) project is providing employment opportunities for 281 vulnerable households in five villages and Berdale town itself through agriculture development, establishment of small businesses and infrastructure rehabilitation. In Howlaha Guud village, Ibrahim - head of a six member family – was one of the residents taking part in a crop farming and poultry activity. He was selected due to his poor economic status, his large family as well as his previous experience in crop farming and poultry activities.

Ibrahim was forced to flee from his house by the civil war but returned to Howlaha Guud when the fighting subsided. By then, Ibrahim’s farmland was little more than weeds and wild grasses. He has no resources to prepare the land. As a sole bread winner of the family, Ibrahim was struggling to sustain his family. He took on the occasional petty jobs, such as selling firewood and grass. The money he earned from could barely ensure even one meal per day. His children were not schooled and showed signs of malnutrition.

Under the ABER project, Ibrahim received seeds, poultry and got access to a tractor to cultivate  one hectar of land. As a result, Ibrahim produced ten quintals of sorghum and two quintals of cowpeas last season (Gu). His target for the next season (Deyr) is to produce about 12 quintals of sorghum and three quintals of cowpeas. His chickens already started lying eggs which have a good market value and are source of protein for the family.

The living conditions of Ibrahim’s family has tangibly changed. Food (sorghum and pulses) are now available in the household. The family intake of protein has increased with their consumption of eggs and poultry meat. The family receive 10 to 20 US $ per week from the sale of eggs. Ibrahim uses this income to cover expenses for medicines, clothes and basic food items.

The Area-Based Early Recovery project is a UNDP project funded by the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) and the Government of Italy. Read more