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Ethiopia Seed Farmers A 016.jpg

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Bayush (centre) with members of a farming cooperative prepare their land for irrigation in the village of Amba Sebat...Bayush Kassan (age 37) lives in the village of Amba Sebat, 20km from the town of Assosa with her daughter Genet (age 14) and son Destaw (age 11) in a small thatched hut without running water or electricity. Bayush is part of a cooperative of 31 women who collectively own land on which they farm vegetables. She grows sesame and other oil-seeds and her village cooperative is part of the Assosa Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Union. The Union buy's Bayush's seed for almost double the average price paid to her by private traders. ..Growing oil seeds presents challenges for the famers of Assosa in western Ethiopia. Many of the most vulnerable are forced to sell to when they cannot be guaranteed a good price for their product. Farms are often located in isolated areas which entails huge amounts of time and effort simply getting seeds to market. Many farmers do not have the resources to properly invest in their land and are tied into exploitative loan arrangements with brokers that deny them the chance to take proper control of their farms. And, as with other agricultural products, it is those agents that process the seeds into oil that secure the greatest profit, very little of which trickles down to benefit the farmer...In response to these pressures, twenty farming cooperatives have formed the Assosa Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Union. By working together, individual farmers are able to pool their resources and squeeze out exploitative agents and brokers. The Union has sufficient capital that it can afford to wait for prices to reach a level at which it is profitable to sell seeds to market. The Union provides loans to constituent members together with training and advice to help farmers make better use of their land. And by collectively hiring vehicles through the Union, farmers need not spend so much time ferrying their produce to market. ..All t
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©Tom Pietrasik
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ETHIOPIA, WOMEN
Bayush (centre) with members of a farming cooperative prepare their land for irrigation in the village of Amba Sebat...Bayush Kassan (age 37) lives in the village of Amba Sebat, 20km from the town of Assosa with her daughter Genet (age 14) and son Destaw (age 11) in a small thatched hut without running water or electricity. Bayush is part of a cooperative of 31 women who collectively own land on which they farm vegetables. She grows sesame and other oil-seeds and her village cooperative is part of the Assosa Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Union. The Union buy's Bayush's seed for almost double the average price paid to her by private traders. ..Growing oil seeds presents challenges for the famers of Assosa in western Ethiopia. Many of the most vulnerable are forced to sell to when they cannot be guaranteed a good price for their product. Farms are often located in isolated areas which entails huge amounts of time and effort simply getting seeds to market. Many farmers do not have the resources to properly invest in their land and are tied into exploitative loan arrangements with brokers that deny them the chance to take proper control of their farms. And, as with other agricultural products, it is those agents that process the seeds into oil that secure the greatest profit, very little of which trickles down to benefit the farmer...In response to these pressures, twenty farming cooperatives have formed the Assosa Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Union. By working together, individual farmers are able to pool their resources and squeeze out exploitative agents and brokers. The Union has sufficient capital that it can afford to wait for prices to reach a level at which it is profitable to sell seeds to market. The Union provides loans to constituent members together with training and advice to help farmers make better use of their land. And by collectively hiring vehicles through the Union, farmers need not spend so much time ferrying their produce to market. ..All t