For an Adwa mother, buying enough food for the family’s needs is often a luxury. The cost of teff, the cereal at the base of the local diet, has quadrupled in a few years.
The lands of the Tigray region still suffer the consequences of the chemical warfare of the dictator Menghistu.
Furthermore, the alternation between drought and rainy season with torrential waters often prevents farmers from obtaining sufficient harvests for local food needs.
This is why it is essential for the Kidane Mehret mission to be able to integrate the food shortages of children and families in Adwa.
Inside the mission, greenhouses have been built that can preserve the right degree of humidity to grow vegetables and to protect them in periods when torrential rains wash away what is sown.
There are also stables with dairy cows, rabbits, chickens, sheep. Their products – milk and eggs – as well as their meat are very valuable. This project also offers a good job opportunity for fathers and mothers of families.
Local staff, supported by Italian volunteers, grow imported and native seeds.
Giovanni Marchetti, expert farmer, has been the project manager since 2016.He works tenaciously on expanding crops on reclaimed, terraced, fertilized areas thanks to the synergy between fields and stables. It grows vegetables, legumes and cereals for the food autonomy of the mission, and allows employees to buy at reduced prices.
Watch her presentation on the field, taken by Carolina Paltrinieri in Adwa:
Greenhouses and stables
The first structure of the greenhouses and stables was built thanks to the important contribution of the Cassa di Risparmio di Bologna Foundation in 2006. Subsequent adaptations to the local climatic conditions were made thanks to the contribution of the Fava di Cento company.
Thanks to this structure, the cultivation of vegetables and the breeding of cows, rabbits and goats were started.
From 2012 to 2019, a plant was also built for the cultivation of spirulina algae, an important food supplement useful for the treatment of undernourished children and mothers. Since 2019, unfortunately, there has been a deterioration of the crop which has forced the plant to be dismantled.
Instead, the cultivation of moringa, an important supplement for human and animal nutrition, is continued.
Giovanni has reclaimed and terraced land previously used as a landfill, and now it can be cultivated with corn or vegetables.
The introduction of motorized vehicles
Ethiopian agriculture still today is subsistence agriculture, fragmented into many small plots given to farmers for a limited time by the state, so that in the Adwa area it has never developed beyond the ox-drawn plow.
Thanks to the help of many groups of friends in Italy, through targeted fundraising, it was possible to purchase and transport numerous motorized tools to the Mission:
The drying of the forage
The climate and seasonality of the Tigray region do not allow for the optimal production and storage of forage for animals.
During the rainy season the best harvests can be made but it is not possible to dry the hay in the open air.
With a view to self-production, a contribution was requested and obtained from the Diocese of Bologna (Commission Dividendi Faac) to create a shed and a fence to preserve the forage purchased from local farmers all year round, in order to support small producers. and no longer having to depend on purchases at 1,200 km and transport currently blocked by pandemics and war.
The food and milk produced provide nourishment to:
Heartfelt thanks on behalf of Giovanni and the whole community who will benefit from the food produced!