Irrigation for Agriculture

How tapping springs secures harvests.

Agriculture in Ethiopia yields meagre harvests that depend on rain. But precipitation quickly runs off slopes into the valley. To make better use of available rain water and prevent the erosion of fertile soil we show farmers how to terrace their fields.

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A very big problem arises when rainfall occurs irregularly or not at all for a longer period of time. For this reason we help people to be independent of rain; for example by tapping springs.

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A pipeline carries spring water into brick storage tanks built along the slopes. From there the precious water flows through irrigation ditches to fields and gardens.

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Farmer Senebetsch does not grow barley anymore but vegetables that yield a good profit on the market. “In the past I could hardly feed my four children,” she says. “Fortunately those days are over.”

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Together with the people concerned we also dam streams with a barrage and channel the water over hundreds of metres of brick-built channels to the fields.

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At the Lege Kora stream an aqueduct made of sheet steel was built to irrigate 50 ha of land and secure food for approximately 100 families.

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For optimal use of the precious water Menschen für Menschen shows farmers new techniques: With drip irrigation hoses carry the water to each plant and release individual drops of water.

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Menschen für Menschen invested 750 Euro in this project at the Yeshum stream in the project region of Wogdi and trained farmers in irrigation techniques and improved cultivation methods. The farmers actively participated in the project and energetically implemented what they have learned on their fields. With success – in the first year the harvest was already worth 3,000 Euro on the local market. The investment was not only worth it but could be multiplied at one go.

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Today Said Ahamed, 45, farmer at the Lege Kora stream, cultivates many types of vegetables on his irrigated fields. Despite hard work his annual income used to amount to only 160 Euro, it is now seven times higher: “ Menschen für Menschen helped me achieve this. Today my work finally bears enough fruit to feed my family. I feel blessed and rich.”

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