Since 2018 TRAID has supported PAN Ethiopia and PAN UK’s highly innovative work to expand tried and tested pesticide reduction models. This project is the adapted work from the highly successful pesticide reduction models used with cotton growers in Ziway, Ethiopia.
In 2023, TRAID has committed £38,464 of funding towards this project to support small holding Ethiopian vegetable growers to grow a healthy, agroecological vegetable system that will benefit farmers and consumers.
TRAID first funded the initial pilot project in 2018 and in just four years the results of agroecological vegetable farming has been outstanding. Now over 600 vegetable farmers have reduced their use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) by 60 – 80% while maintaining yields, with 25% of participating vegetable farmers using no hazardous pesticides at all, and a 73% reduction in overall pesticide spraying by farmers.
Farmers Field School vegetable training led by Habte (centre)
Vegetable production in Ziway, Ethiopia typically uses very high levels of agricultural chemicals, in particular Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). These high levels of pesticides used to grow crops bring damage to the soil’s health and puts farmers at risk of pesticide poisoning and reducing their incomes.
Excessive use of HHPs also contaminates the surface water which has raised concerns of harm to Lake Ziway, Ethiopia’s largest freshwater lake, its tributaries and surrounding wetlands. These ecosystems provide fish and drinking water for local communities and form a biodiverse landscape of high importance, including habitats for many species like hippos and migratory birds.
Melaku Tadasse, holding pesticide free produce.
However, with this project directly supporting farmers to make informed choices about reducing their pesticide usage. The vegetables grown are valuable cash crops sold in local markets and provide income and food security for farmers and their families. The chemical-free vegetable crops are also used as rotation crops in conjunction with cotton farming to improve the soil quality and provide farmers better chances of stronger yields and good harvests.
The exciting growth and the continued success of this project shows the importance of innovation in the agricultural sector. By adapting farming techniques used with organic cotton growers, the work of PAN UK and PAN Ethiopia has brought a new way to ensure the safety of both farmers and the land they farm on.