When it’s time to tune in to Atota on Oromia radio, Jorpe Nanecha carefully unlocks the cabinet below where she proudly displays her plates and cutlery, and pulls out the yellow solar radio.
She will gather several women to tune in to the program, knowing just how valuable this information is to a thriving farming business.
Jorpe is a mother of 11 children, and for the past 17 years she has been leading her household and farming business in Soyoma kebele, in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region. And her farm is thriving. She has eight hectares of land that she cultivates, growing wheat, chickpea, teff, lentils, and beans. She also sells milk from her cows and is learning how to produce animal feed.
“I value education more than anything,” she says. Most of her children are educated and she wishes she had studied longer. This is why she is an avid listener of the radio — so she can continue to learn valuable information for her farm.
She explains: “I have always been regretting stopping my education, so I am trying to compensate every way that I can. I take the initiative to learn things by trying something new. There is always a risk, but I am open to losing so that I can learn from it.”
Jorpe most recently took the risk of trying the Aybar BBM — a new type of broad-bed and furrowmaker, used to create furrows for draining waterlogged soils. This made-in-Ethiopia innovation is half the weight of the older BBM, making it easier for farmers to lift and oxen to pull.
She has seen that the Aybar BBM is good for draining water that would otherwise drown the wheat seeds.
The next thing she wants to learn about? Another Aybar innovation that assists with row-planting teff.
This was part of a project to use information and communication technologies to scale-up agricultural technology in Ethiopia, which was made possible through USAID’s New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge Fund, a component of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.