Mrs Tadelech Lachemo took part in Africa RISING”s potato seed multiplication training in June 2014. She received 7 quintals of the improved (Gudene) potato variety – the variety was selected based on preferences expressed during an Africa RISING field day.
Before getting involved in Africa RISING, she was a productive safety net program (PSNP) beneficiary for about 8 years. This is a government and World Food Program (WFP) initiative where the poorest and chronically food insecure farm household receive a combination of food and cash transfers in return for labour contribution in local development work.
During her first year with Africa RISING, she produced about 70 quintals of potato and she returned the initial 7 quintals of improved potato seed to the Kebele that was provided by the project.
She earned about 23,000 Birr from the sale of her produce (fresh and seed potato) to fellow farmers. She set a market price of 500 birr per quintal in consultation with the Africa RISING project and local government administrators. She helped four female-headed household farmers by selling potato to them at a lower price of 400 birr per quintal, so they can also benefit like she does. She also gave 4 quintals as a gift to her family and 3 quintals for very poor farmers who couldn’t buy the seed.
The family consumed around 10 quintals of potato at home during the cropping season which has contributed to household dietary diversity. From the money she obtained, she supported her son with 10,000 birr to construct a house. For herself, she is constructing a traditional restaurant house with 30 corrugated iron sheets. With support from the project she has also constructed Diffused Light Stores (DLS) to store potato seed.
She explained that before the new variety was introduced to her village, she and many other farmers used to plant once a year. Now many are planting potato twice a year in both cropping seasons. She used to plant only one quintal of the local variety and harvest four quintals per year. Before the introduction of the DLS the maximum seed she used to save as planting material was about 0.5 quintal. Now however, she is able to save about 50 quintals of quality potato seed for sale and as planting material.
Her dream now, she says “is to increase her agricultural productivity more and run a profitable restaurant”.
Story by: Zekarias Bassa (Researcher at Areka Agricultural Research Center)