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022 Madebo Kastro 1Madebo is a 40-year-old potato producer from Delbo Wogane, in Southern Ethiopia. Before joining E-FACE (Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation), he found it difficult to provide for his family in terms of food and affording his children’s education expenses. Now, he is benefiting greatly from improved production and new skills and knowledge gained from the project.

“Before the project, my life was not like this. We had a shortage of food and it was difficult to purchase school materials for my children,” shares Madebo. Madebo was also engaged in cultivating wheat and carrots. His main income came from selling carrots. In a good year, he would earn $100 USD, for a monthly average income of $8.35 USD. In a bad year, he would earn $50 USD, for a monthly average income of $4.15 USD. Through the project, Madebo along with other potato producers in his community were supported to access improved potato varieties. Prior to this, they used the local variety and would  onsume the potatoes immediately after harvest. “We couldn’t sell it or get income from it. We didn’t store it for future plantation either.” In 2013, he received 250 kilograms of Irish potato seed and produced 1600 kilograms. He sold 1300 kilograms and profited $100 USD, and kept 300 kilograms for his household consumption. The following year, he received 150 kilograms of improved seed from the project, and produced 3000 kilograms. He stored 2000 kilograms, sold 500 kilograms, and kept 500 kilograms for consumption. He generated $62.50 USD and will be able to earn even more by selling the potato as seed.

The project also facilitated the organization of potato cooperatives. Madebo is a member of the Delbo Wogane Potato Producers Cooperative that has 102 members (80 male and 22 female) that was established in November 2014. Being part of a cooperative allows them to access a storage unit to keep their potato seed and have improved bargaining power in the market.

The biggest change Madeo has experienced is improved food security. He can now feed his family and not worry about a shortage of food. The second biggest change for him was acquiring new skills and knowledge. “Before I didn’t have the skills or knowledge to store potatoes in a diffused light storage (DLS). Through the project I was introduced to this new type of technology,” expresses Madebo. He also received training on how to produce, when to produce, and what to produce. The training, access to new potato varieties, and access to the storage allowed Madebo to improve his income and food security for his family.

Madedo values education, despite his limited education: “I am not educated, and so I do not wish my children to be like me. If I asked them to workand help me, it may have burdened them. I want them to be active students and continue to let them study.” Madebo plans to keep investing in his children’s education for them to have good opportunities in the future. He also plans to construct a DLS storage unit on his own property because he has experienced and seen the great benefits of the technology.