At 10am in the morning, Kabelo Worku’s house is empty. His kids are at school and his wife is by his side out on their plot of land. She drops seeds while he ploughs and also looks after the cattle. They are a good team. They have to be in order to manage their farmland of 1.25ha – roughly the size of two football fields. “We work helping each other. […] We also decide on the sales together and on how much we need for a year, the rest we sell.”

Inside their home though, Kabelo’s wife is in charge. Their house is in the typical style of farmers in Amhara. The door serves as the main source of light as there are no windows. She uses fresh grass to cover the floor made from cow dung and fur skin to decorate the walls. As soon as she has finished her daily four hours in the field, the cooking starts. The national dish injera (yeast-risen flatbread) is prepared using teff, a kind of grain that Kabelo grows alongside maize, finger millet and potato. Today they will have lentils and cabbage with it that they bought from the market.

High hopes

“We are food secure and can even sell our products on the market,” Kabelo says. But more is always better. As soon as he heard about the demonstration trials organised by CASCAPE, he went along to one of the field days and was convinced. “I have high hopes seeing the outputs of other farmers like Muluken,” he says. He joined the Farmer Research Extension Group (FREG), participated in a three-day training session and as a result has started to switch to the improved maize and potato varieties.

“Since I got the technologies from CASCAPE only this year, there has been no change yet but I hope that it will pay off in the near future,” he says. More income will allow him to purchase more seeds, which are currently expensive since many farmers have requested these improved seeds hoping to improve their lives. It is 2pm, lunch is ready and the kids have returned from school. The yeasty aroma of the injera fills the air together with the happy chatter of the family.