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The Farmers of Gaho

Farmers in Ethiopia have mastered dryland agriculture.

A printer-friendly version of this page 21 minutes
Directed by Bill Locke
Produced by Mike Appleton, Street Symphony Project
with Television Trust for the Environment

Over the generations the farmers of the village of Gaho in southern Ethiopia have developed unique farming techniques that enable them successfully to grow crops in their arid environment.

The preservation and enhancement of their soil is the villagers' most important priority. They accomplish this through constant weeding and composting. To trap water and prevent erosion they build stone terraces on hilly terrain, and earth embankments on level ground. Amongst the crops they grow successfully in this land of undependable rainfall are sorghum, sunflower, rapeseed, coffee, cassava, and yam.

Farm Africa, an NGO promoting sustainable agriculture, has enabled the farmers of Gaho to experiment with new sorghum varieties resistant to pests, and requiring less moisture. It has also enabled Gaho's women to purchase livestock to be used for meat and sold in the region for supplemental income.

Although each farmer has his own plot of land, cultivation and maintenance are communal endeavors. A common area is tilled and planted, and the yield of this area is stored for distribution during times of scarcity.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1998     Copyright Date: 1998
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-976-3     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-754-9

"THE FARMERS OF GAHO demonstrates that with careful attention to sustainable agricultural development and thoughtful foreign assistance designed to enhance indigenous people's ability to care for themselves, the outlook for farmers in ecologically sensitive areas of the Third World need not be bleak. Highly recommended."
Buzz Haughton, Shields Library, University of California, Davis, MC Journal

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The Farmers of Gaho

"The outlook for farmers in... the Third World need not be bleak. Highly recommended." Buzz Haughton, MC Journal

Links (The producer's web site)

African Studies
Developing World
Local Economies
Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainable Development

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My Father's Garden
Explores sustainable agriculture and the contrast between chemical and organic farming.

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