Melkamu: Cultivating his own way (Ethiopia)
Before farmer Melkamu Ayana joined MEDA's EDGET (Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade) project, he used to cultivate his rice crops traditionally by broadcasting.
"I would sow the seed by cultivating the land only once," he admits. "Once I cultivated the land, I would sow the seed through broadcasting."
With this method, the weeds grow faster than the seed. The weeds and the grain grow together, making weeding difficult and time-consuming.
Now, Melkamu can see the advantages of row planting, which he learned through EDGET. With space between rows, he can easily pick weeds without stepping on the rice plants. "It's easy for me to walk through the row, and I can use my hands completely to weed the plants."
Melkamu used to apply fertilizer with the broadcast method. Now he and other EDGET farmers put the fertilizer only on the rice, making it more effective and eliminating waste.
"I'm very excited with row planting, and I will continue the row planting method for future crops. When I used the broadcast method, I never saw this kind of good quality harvest. But now, it makes everyone happy. Not only for me, but everyone who sees my farm gets excited."