Shumet Anteneh is a 45 year-old farmer living in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, in a village called Keiro Mender. He is married with 7 children. The family has 2 ha of land where Shumet previously cultivated rough pea, onion, fenugreek, lentils and finger millet. He added rice cultivation in 2005. At that time, production was good, though he was facing problems with birds and other animals attacking his rice field. This problem became severe as no other rice fields were in close proximity to share the damage. He decided to stop producing rice until other farmers around him could also plant it and share the risk of bird attacks. In 2008, Shumet restarted producing rice together with other surrounding farmers.
In 2012, Shumet was registered as a client for a MEDA project and received training on basic agronomic knowledge and practices. Based on the new skills and knowledge he acquired, he planted his own seedlings in his backyard as a trial plot. With technical support from the project staff, he successfully transplanted his seedlings one month after the conventional planting time. His neighbors were surprised by his new practice of planting rice during the weeding period of other rice fields. Other families advised him to stop wasting his time on this unfamiliar method and devote his time to other crops. But Shumet continued applying his new skills, believing that it would bring him a better result.
In time, the transplanted crop performed extraordinarily. This attracted the neighbors' attention and it took them by surprise to learn that the new method exceeded the conventional planting method in production. Shumet was able to produce 11 quintals of rice, compared to 7 quintals using the conventional planting methods on the same amount of land. He also reduced the burden of weeding by 44%. Shumet is pleased with the increased yields and his labor cost savings as a result of the reduction in weeds.
A number of farmers and extension workers have visited Shumet's farm for examples of excellent agronomic practices, such as weed and water management, seed soaking, intercropping, and fertilizer application. In the future, Shumet plans to expand transplanting from his trial plot to the rest of his field using the seed soaking method. Currently, he is teaching his neighbors on how to use the methods he learned. Shumet wishes to acquire further technical support for other new technologies both from government and other supporting organizations like MEDA. He is especially keen to obtain better market opportunities in order to gain appropriate returns on farming.