Irrigating Hope for Farmers like Erasho in South Omo

Erasho Bokotow, a small farmer and the primary breadwinner for her seven children, stands amongst her crops in South Omo, Ethiopia. She is forty-one years old and lives in Delerele village in South Omo – a region known for its increasing desertification as it experiences with increasing severity the impacts of climate change.

Erasho turned to farming to eke out a living when her livestock – which used to be the primary source of income for most communities in this area – were impacted by drought, lack of available forage, and increasing conflict from neighbouring communities and her herd dwindled. Crops were to be Erasho and her family’s salvation. However, Erasho’s ability to earn a living from her farming was threatened by limited access to good quality seed, water and a resultant plague of pests and diseases.

Working with the EU and a consortium of other NGOs in the region, Vita is helping Erasho to overcome these difficulties with an irrigation and land management programme that allows small farmers to get the most out of their land and crops. By installing vital irrigation facilities that protect Erasho and her crops from the erratic rainfalls of the region, Vita has enabled Erasho to produce a variety of crops and vegetables all year-round, increasing her incomes exponentially and ensuring food security for her entire family.

Now, she and many others like her, is implementing modern farming methods to grow high-value crops all years long – an ability that brings untold benefits to not Erasho and her family but the wider community.

This irrigation facility has enabled many farmers working with Vita to double their incomes at a time when their livelihoods have never been more threatened. On top of this, Vita’s team are always on hand to support these farmers with any issues they might have. In Erasho’s own words, “I have always have someone to support me whenever I have any issue and need help.”

Comparing Erasho’s old struggles to how she feels now, she says – “I am very happy now since the project installed an irrigation pump and lack of water is no longer issue.” Her livelihood is secure and she can look forward to building a more secure future for her family. It turns out it is not just water that can spring from an irrigation pump – but hope too.