Recovery and Resilience for Ethiopian Farmers

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When the 2017 cropping season came, I was desperate – I neither had seed at hand nor cash to buy seeds.


Nudo Delsebo was used to overcoming challenges. With a physical disability that limited her mobility, Nudo had to work twice as hard as her neighbours just to earn the same amount of income from her farm – the only source of income to support six children in the household.

But when El Niño struck Ethiopia in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) in 2015, and the land dried up from lack of rain, she lost not only her income but food to feed her children.

“The consecutive droughts in my village in the last three cropping seasons were severe. I lost all my crops and was forced to sell my only assets, like chickens, goats and sheep, to feed my family,” says Nudo. “When the 2017 cropping season came, I was desperate – I neither had seed at hand nor cash to buy seeds.”

El Niño affected thousands of people who suffered from one of the most severe droughts in the past 50 years.

To help, Catholic Relief Services launched an Agriculture Recovery and Resilience Project, also known as ARRP, which addressed the widespread food shortages that smallholder farmers were facing.

With support from the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, CRS helped more than 299,000 families like Nudo – not only to survive the emergency period, but to grow and develop through it so they could become more resilient and better prepared to face future shocks. Keeping true to CRS’ Mission to serve the poorest of the poor – CRS’ intervention targeted 100 smallholder farmers with disabilities to ensure they weren’t left out.

CRS’ ARRP project distributed seeds so families could restart their livelihoods. At the same time the project provided training on Integrated Pest Management and improving grain security with hermetic storage technologies, specifically the Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags.

As a result, Nudo was able to plant half a hectare with improved varieties of high-yielding wheat which enabled her to increase her crop production from zero to 2,646 pounds of grain in 2018. She share-cropped the remaining hectare which allowed her to get additional income. Nudo used the extra income to buy vegetables and other basic food items so her kids can frequently eat nutritious meals. 

“I was lucky to be selected as a beneficiary through the Project” says Nudo. 

Today, Nudo has the necessary seeds to cultivate her farm and feed her six children three meals a day.