Learning and Passing on Farming Skills

01 July 2022
In July 2020, JOA launched the Dairy for Nutrition and Income (DaNI) project with Send a Cow, to improve nutrition and incomes for smallholder farmers in Wolayita.

Kelta Alambo Bunare, 40, and his wife Abebech Alebo Asha have four children aged between 10 and 18. Kelta is a member of the Melkam (‘Looks Good’) self-help group in the DaNI project in Ethiopia. A neighbour of theirs was a member of an earlier Send a Cow project and helped the family to improve their vegetable garden and produce forage for their livestock. When the DaNI project was announced, Kelta was one of the first smallholder farmers who applied to join.

The family’s farm, which is about one hectare in total, provides all of their income. They have developed a range of different crops including vegetables, cereal and roots. They use the milk from their cow for butter, cheese and yoghurt production (to sell) as well as for home consumption, and the manure to improve the soil organically. Formal training from Send a Cow has allowed them to consolidate and improve their farm, learning how to best manage their available space and resources to maximise production.

In the first year of the project, Kelta particularly valued the training in basic animal freedoms which enabled him to ensure his dairy cow is healthy and happy – and productive. He is excited to learn more about the potential for crossbreeding their local cow with Jersey genetics, to improve productivity and milk quality.

He says: “I’ve learned so much since joining the Melkam group. I have been trained about dairy cow management, and how to support dairy farming as a business. Farming and livestock is my life, my family’s life – I want to learn as much as I can."