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Community ponds opened the eyes of farmers!

By Esubalew Dires

 There is a high temperature in the area. Crops like tef and mungbean are getting harvested and threshed in the area.  Farmers are distressed about the rainy season this year.  Maize, pepper and sorghum are looking immature. However, community ponds constructed in the area will sustain the moisture of farmlands until it is matured.

ANRS Oromo Special zone contains 8 woredas. Dewa Chefa and Bati are two of the four woredas of project interventions found in the zone. Dewa Chefa is distinct from others in that Chefa Vally is potentially rich in underground water. The Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA) Harvest Plus project and International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) funded by SIDA carried out intervention activities to livelihood improvement and overall transformation. The intervention of the project with a new agricultural practice helped farmers, women and unemployed youths to be part of development actors through better use of irrigation and agricultural related activities in the area. Community ponds which opened the eyes of farmers are now extensively expanded. 


Chefa valley is a fertile area which is very productive. However, due to absence of water, farmers were not able to produce through irrigation. But now the project considerably changed the area.  The occurrence of erratic rainfall has left many areas without production in 2015/16. Likewise, the majority of Dewa Chefa is strongly struck by El Niño. However, this is not a serious problem to farmers of Chefa Valley (Kachur & Bilida kebeles). According to farmers though the rain has stopped, water is easily pumped out from ponds to retain moisture for crops. The project has a commendable achievement in getting farmers benefited from communal ponds. 


Farmer Hussen Ibrahim is a married and father of five children. He lives in Dewa Chefa woreda Kachur 07 Kebele. The communication team found him while he was exerting his energy on his pepper farm. Farmer Hussen explained the support of ORDA and IIRR “we used to eat ‘shiro wot’, but now we have started eating salad, tomato, cabbage and maize. We also used to buy pepper. Now, we are producing it on irrigation. This year the rain was unsatisfactory but we can see the fruit of our crops for the fact that we are pumping to water crops and thanks to Harvest Plus who helped us built ponds.  

The communication team was invited by farmers in the area to stay with farmer Ibrahim Seid. He is a young, hard working and model farmer of Kachur kebele. He reminded the time and energy he wasted for 4 years in Arab.  Farmer Ibrahim came back to Ethiopia 2 years ago with his empty hand. He said, “The area is potentially rich in resources, we own fertile land which easily grows crops that we plant. It’s time to stop migration rather we are required to contribute on development agendas.  I’ve tested all the sufferings of life living abroad. Currently, I’m committed for a change working day and night. I was a pioneer to build a pond in Kachur. Surprisingly, the project came & supported me with an innovative communal pond. This time, I’m producing better and changing my life through irrigation.  Last year, I got 80 thousand birr from garlic and 7 thousand birr from tomato production.  Whereas, this year, I expect 180 birr from garlic in half a hectare of rented land.”


Deputy & head of zonal agriculture of Oromo special zone administration, Ato Girma Bekele disclosed ORDA & IIRR Harvest plus project has been carried out magnificent community ponds in Dewa Chefa to boost agricultural productivity. We observed farmers’ awareness has been increasing through time. They are digging and building ponds to harvest using irrigation. In this case, Kachur kebele farmers are exemplary. Ato Girma claimed over 70 communal ponds have been constructed potentially irrigating over 440 hectares of land.

In Kuchur and its surrounding, 10 communal ponds have been built by Harvest plus Project. Each communal pond on average serves 10 farmers and potentially irrigates 6.3 ha of land. Hence, farmers of Chefa Valley are now securing their families food.  A visitor can assure how farmers are getting benefited and owning assets far beyond food security.

Moreover, the project supported organized groups of jobless youths on income generation works. Generally, ORDA Harvest Plus & IIRR helped25 youth groups which consisted a total of 345 members (of which 162 are female). Most of them are fully engaged in their work.

However, it’s observed that organized groups are loose and some are totally disintegrated.   Hence, much has to be done in order to build the attitude of youths and women. Organizing and creating job for youths and women should not be left to the project only. It also requires vigorous involvement of the government. Mainly, Office of Agriculture and Technical, Vocational and Enterprises and woreda & zonal administrations should play their role to make them active participants & beneficiaries of the overall regional development. It’s to be noted that the assignment is to the respective concerned offices of each of the woredas for a sustained development of the people as a whole.

Last Updated (Thursday, 16 June 2016 09:19)

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