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The Farmers of Gaho

The Farmers of Gaho

Over the generations the farmers of the village of Gaho in southern Ethiopia have developed unique farming techniques that enable them successfully to grow crops in their arid environment.

The preservation and enhancement of their soil is the villagers' most important priority. They accomplish this through constant weeding and composting. To trap water and prevent erosion they build stone terraces on hilly terrain, and earth embankments on level ground. Amongst the crops they grow successfully in this land of undependable rainfall are sorghum, sunflower, rapeseed, coffee, cassava, and yam.

Farm Africa, an NGO promoting sustainable agriculture, has enabled the farmers of Gaho to experiment with new sorghum varieties resistant to pests, and requiring less moisture. It has also enabled Gaho's women to purchase livestock to be used for meat and sold in the region for supplemental income.

Although each farmer has his own plot of land, cultivation and maintenance are communal endeavors. A common area is tilled and planted, and the yield of this area is stored for distribution during times of scarcity.