Potato is a superfood, rich in essential vitamins and minerals, and high in calories. Moreover, it is a climate-smart crop that is resistant to droughts and requires less water to grow when compared to crops like maize. However, this crop is under-cultivated in rural East African communities, primarily due to a lack of quality seeds.
At the core of our food systems programmes is the commitment to providing smallholder farmers with quality, disease-free, and high-yielding potato seeds, ensuring a robust foundation for agricultural success.
Mehari Habtemariam,is a young priest and potato farmer in Eritrea. He is 29 years old and lives in a village called Korbariya with his spouse and two children. Mehari, is one of the many farmers in Eritrea that has seen the benefits of increased availability of quality seeds, exemplifying the positive ripple effect on individual lives and communities.
Through the availability of quality seeds, Mehari experienced a significant boost in his potato yield, increasing from eight tonnes per hectare in 2011 to an impressive 28 tonnes per hectare since 2013.
This remarkable threefold in
crease not only translates to improved food security for Mehari’s family but also propels him into a position where surplus produce is sold, contributing to his household’s economic stability.
One of the most noteworthy outcomes of Mehari’s success is his ability to invest in sustainable farming practices. With the increased income from his thriving potato enterprise, he was able to purchase a drip irrigation system. This strategic investment not only enhances his yield but also strengthens Mehari’s resilience to climate challenges, particularly drought. In 2022, Mehari began a Honey processing enterprise. He has since purchased nine beehives from which he processes about 60 litres of organic honey per harvest.
“I depend on this potato farm to cover my house rent, purchase household items such as TV, kitchen cabinet and refrigerator” He said.
The impact of our Seed Multiplication Programme extends beyond mere agricultural statistics; it translates into visible social benefits. Mehari’s journey is a collaborative success, made possible through the concerted efforts of our partners, founders, dedicated staff, and the farmers themselves. As we celebrate Mehari’s achievements, we recognize the collective strength required to drive positive change and prosperity in the lives of those we serve.