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"ORDA enabled me to own extra assets" Farmer Asfaw Kassie

By Esubalew Dires

                                                         IFAD Guna6

The Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA) for longer years is extensively carrying out multi developmental interventions throughout the region. ORDA, for more than 30 years, has been supporting the community who are living under poverty to make them self reliant in areas where food is not yet secured. This has really come true in ORDA intervention areas. 
Watershed degradation, which results in the loss of value over time, including the productive potential of land and water, accompanied by marked changes in the hydrological behaviour of a river system resulting in inferior quality, quantity and timing of water-flow, is one of the major challenges of the region.

Natural Resource Development Program is among the major thematic working areas of the organization. Community Based Intergrated Natural Resource Management (IFAD Guna) of ORDA has been implementing its Project activities in South Gondar Zone Farta, Lay Gayint and East Estie districts since 2012.

The protection, improvement and rehabilitation of mountain and upland watersheds are of critical importance in the achievement of overall development goals. Recognizing this, ORDAIFAD Guna has given great attention and resources to the field of watershed management in South Gondar Zone.

                                                      IFAD Guna (1)

IFAD Guna has been working in 12 selected kebeles of 22 watershed areas within those three districts. So far the project has more than 18 thousand total beneficiaries that are striving to get out of extreme poverty. It’s practically observed that some are in rapid progress.Poor communities have started to own assets. Farmer Asfaw Kassie is among the beneficiaries of the project to be mentioned forefront.

Farmer Asfaw Kassie is a resident at Arga Ambo village situated at Ata kebele in Farta district of South Gondar Zone. His wife Yirbeb Demelew is always on the side of farmer Asfaw struggling a lot for the betterment of their life. They are father and mother of two sons and daughters. He is a strong and hardworking farmer in the area. However, he was not able to possess assets apart from securing families food. Farmer Asfaw Kassie is one of the beneficiaries who witnessed IFAD Guna project of ORDA helped them possess resources. Timayit, among the 22 bounded watersheds, was degraded due to mismanagement of community-owned forests by free grazing, illegal logging, charcoal production, cutting of trees for fuel wood and construction, burning and continuous alteration of forests into farmlands and cultivation of steepy escarpments. Ato Asfaw recognized the problem and started to take action by the initiation of IFAD project.

                                                  IFAD Guna3 (2)

Different from others, farmer Asfaw is fast and willing to use technologies. Hence, he tried to cultivate the new oil crop with his 20m for 20m of farmland since 2012. He sold it back to ORDA with 1,200 Birr.

Farmer Asfaw stated “In 2013, the project offered me 50 kgs of improved potato tuber, 3 kgs of garlic seed, 40 grafted apple seedlings and 12 apple root stocks. Then, I found 3 quintals of potato which I used it for the 2014 production season. I didn’t collect the production yet but expecting more than 10 quintals,” he said. Ato Asfaw is in deed brave that he plans to carryout his activities. Half of his potato production will be utilized for family food, half of it will be sold and the rest will be saved for the upcoming production season.

Farmer Asfaw’s homestead garden looks ever green and it is eye catching. He uses irrigation to produce fruits and vegetables. We found the farmer taking care of his apple production much time. He also grafted on and prepared apple nursery seedling propagation taken from the project for trade.

The farmer began to use underground water since 2005 but IFAD Guna of ORDA scaled it up to a washer/rope pump. As a result, the project enabled him to save his time & energy he was losing to drag water. Farmer Asfaw is now watering fruits and vegetables easily and he developed private nursery (eucalyptus and tid seedlings) for market as income generation activities. Furthermore, the project constructed biogas plant for selected model farmers and they are getting benefited from it. The farmer exclaimed biogas made them advantageous in saving money that was expened for buying night lights of gasoil, battery cells and reduced firewood to cook. Ato Asfaw shares his wife’s work at home. He is now a good chef to cooking wot and making coffee after the project’s support for the biogas. Due to the existence of biogas at nights, their school children are able to do their assignments. More importantly, the health of his family is improved.

                                                              IFAD Guna

While explaining about the assets he built after the involvement IFAD Guna Project, he bought mule and donkey. The project also put its finger print in every step for the asset building. Far beyond the knowledge experience & better agricultural technologies he gained, he started to count cash money in thousands. Life of farmer Asfaw is brigheter than yesterday. His garden is full of vegetables, apple and seedlings of indigenious and exotic species which will be changed into cash a few months later. The farmer is a member and an active involver of stabilization of physical soil and water conservation structure by biological measures of Timayit watershed. This enclosed watershed begun to rehabilitate the natural resources and springs in the area that were on a stage of drying up like Enko Midir, Zazo, Merakut, Eshetie gudey have developed well. The communal land under the watershed is covered with a variety of animal feed (forage) & more than 3,800 eucaliptus seedlings have been planted. 

                                                  IFAD Guna5
The project has also made watershed members beneficiaries through the establishment of village saving and loan groups (VSLGs). Farmer Asfaw is member of “Abebech” VSLG. Members saved 10 birr every month and now they have a capital of 7,000 birr. This allows poor members to borrow money from their VSLG which creates a chance to participate in income generation activities with less interest. Generally speaking, ORDA’s Community Based Intergrated Natural Resource Management Project played its role in developing the natural resources in relation to watresheds and at the same time insisted poor farmers to changing their livelihoods.

                                                  IFAD Guna7

Last Updated (Tuesday, 30 December 2014 12:26)

 
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