Challenge: Despite having fertile land, farmers in the woredas of Menge, Homosha, and Undulu face challenges in achieving sustainable agricultural production, with yield levels falling below subsistence at 11 quintals per hectare. Farmers have limited access to agricultural inputs and technologies like improved seeds, soil fertiliser, and suitable pesticides. The area is underdeveloped, and the lack of urbanisation has limited farmers' access to financial services, storage facilities and transportation of inputs and technologies. Local farmers often rely on traditional farming methods, which include the use of hand tools to harvest, plant and prep land. These methods lack efficiency but have not been updated due to a lack of access and a knowledge gap. Financial constraints, knowledge gaps, a lack of income diversity and poor infrastructure are among the significant factors affecting production and productivity in the area, ultimately forcing households to live in poverty.
Our Response: Enhancing household resilience and bolstering productivity are crucial pathways for families in the designated programme area. To effectively tackle these challenges, a comprehensive strategy was devised by Pharo, focusing on providing targeted assistance to selected farmers through a four-year diminishing subsidy initiative. Over this duration, an investment of approximately $500 USD per farmer was channelled towards the distribution of improved seeds, fertilisers, and customised training sessions to optimise agricultural practices. The implementation of this model yielded extensive outreach, benefiting about 1,230 farmers across five cohorts. This success underscores the remarkable progress achievable through sustained commitment and relentless dedication from the farmers.
The introduction of diverse initiatives such as livestock management, crop diversification and beekeeping not only broadened farmers' engagement but empowered them to save and invest their earnings, resulting in remarkable transformations. To ensure the program's longevity, efforts were dedicated to strengthening local capacities and establishing farmer training centres, cooperatives, village savings groups, and storage facilities. These assets continue to enrich the broader community beyond the direct target groups and the project's timeline, fostering enduring sustainability.