Established in July 2007, iDE Ethiopia is committed to promoting prosperity in the impoverished areas of Ethiopia's rural farmland. With very limited resources, farmers in these regions have to negotiate obstacles such as unpredictable droughts and floods, soil degradation, and rising food prices. At iDE Ethiopia we work to strengthen the economic and social stance of the farmers through support both on and off the farm. In addition to providing access to sound agricultural inputs, technologies, and trainings, we also help the farmers understand the markets in which they function so that they can reach consumers more directly.
Market driven, innovative, and solution-oriented, iDE Ethiopia offers small-plot farmers the opportunity to significantly increase their household income by improving their agricultural productivity.
iDE exists because of the many challenges small-plot Ethiopian farmers face when it comes to earning an adequate income from their farms. These challenges include:
- Over-reliance on rainfall or expensive, impractical diesel pumps
- Unpredictable environmental phenomena
- Limited access to affordable, small-scale irrigation technologies
- Poor quality of the input supplies needed to grow crops and limited access to more reliable, robust inputs
- Limited bargaining power with markets and buyers
- Inadequate access to information about market prices and demand
iDE Ethiopia started out primarily as a water management and irrigation development enterprise. One of the most important obstacles to overcome in rural Ethiopian farmland is access to water during the dry season. Ethiopia has a heavy seasonal rainy period lasting roughly from June until September. However, the climate can become very dry over the winter months making it extremely difficult to grow crops and keep livestock throughout the entire year. iDE's initial projects involved the production and distribution of various cheap, but effective, water pumping and well-drilling technologies.
After seeing tremendous success with the irrigation programs, iDE was able to expand and adopt a more comprehensive approach that addressed all of the challenges listed above. In addition to providing inputs like water pumps, iDE is now involved with getting farmers access to things like robust seeds and fertilizers, post-harvest storage facilities, irrigation canals, and new roads. We also facilitate and advise local farmer's unions and co-ops which strengthen not just individual farmers, but local community institutions. Working with these unions and co-ops we are able to provide the farmers with information on market aspects such as value chains, microfinance institutions, and the importance of direct market access. Currently, we are looking to implement a Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program to improve the quality of the drinking water that reaches rural households.
Our growth has also contributed to the wellbeing of Ethiopians who are involved in a wider range of agriculture-related occupations. The Technology, Development and Design team provides technical jobs and training to local Ethiopians interested in designing, prototyping, and manufacturing water pumping and well-drilling technologies. Our training programme for manual well drillers provides young people with extensive, hands-on instruction in a variety of low-cost drilling methods. Drilling teams then provide a valuable service for small-plot farmers who otherwise would not be able to afford a well. Manual well drillers are in high demand and leave the training with a marketable skill and increased livelihood opportunities.
At iDE we are dedicated to instilling sustainable, reliable, and productive agricultural practices within the struggling households of Ethiopia's farmland. We feel that in achieving this goal it is important not to be though of as a "free handout" organization. Our attitude is that in order to truly become secure, farmers must rely on themselves and their own abilities. We serve to provide access to inputs, information, and infrastructure at prices that the rural poor can afford. We facilitate any investments that the farmers choose to make to ensure that they are elevated out of poverty and gain a life free of hunger and uncertainty.
To learn more about the finer details of our work please feel free to explore the site and you're more than welcome to contact us if you have any questions or comments.