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Bayush (centre foreground) and Belaynesh (centre background) with other traders at the weekly market in Assosa town.

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.

Belaynesh Hussen (age 50) lives with her niece Tsehaynesh Bistegn, age 10, in a thatched house in Amba Zetegn, 20km from Assosa town. She farms sorghum, maize, teff and soya, all sold through the local farmers co-operative society of which she has been a part for the past three years. This village co-op is affiliated to the Assosa Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Union.

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 c
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©Tom Pietrasik
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ETHIOPIA
Bayush (centre foreground) and Belaynesh (centre background) with other traders at the weekly market in Assosa town. <br />
<br />
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. <br />
<br />
Belaynesh Hussen (age 50) lives with her niece Tsehaynesh Bistegn, age 10, in a thatched house in Amba Zetegn, 20km from Assosa town. She farms sorghum, maize, teff and soya, all sold through the local farmers co-operative society of which she has been a part for the past three years. This village co-op is affiliated to the Assosa Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Union.<br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
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 c