In Ethiopia, women-led farming cooperatives are leading the way to a brighter future for individual farmers, their communities, and the agricultural sector as a whole.
By supporting these cooperatives and individual female farmers, Sasakawa is helping improve yields and livelihoods across the country. This has been the case with Desta Kalayu. Before Sasakawa came through her village, Kalayu had no sheep or goats. She accepted an offer from Sasakawa and the government to join a Women-Assisted Demonstrations program with several other women from her village.
Through this program, Kalayu received funding to help her buy three ewes and a ram, and she participated in a program on sheep production. By applying her new skills, she was able to grow her flock to 15 sheep and eventually diversify her stock. “I sold some of the sheep and purchased one donkey and some goats,” she said. “I also slaughtered one ram every holiday, just like the rich people do.”
Kalayu’s success inspired other women in her village who are now interested in learning about raising sheep and goats through Sasakawa’s program. This points to Sasakawa’s powerful ripple effect through programs that aim to change agriculture in Africa one farmer at a time.
Sasakawa’s investments in Ethiopian farmers have stimulated individual farms and entire rural communities. Through Sasakawa, the Raey Meles Agro-Processing Cooperative has been able to scale up production through capital grants, processing machines, and training in areas such as marketing and management. “My family was very poor, and I was dependent on my husband,” said Birhan Redae, chairwoman of that cooperative. “But now I have gained different skills and an income that supports my family.”