One little bean can save a life

By January 2, 2014


Ethiopia (FFH) — After the holidays, it’s not unusual for many of us to experience a dip in energy and need a nice cup of coffee to get us going.

It’s amazing how people on the other side of the world appreciate coffee like Americans.

In Ethiopia, in the community of Sasiga, coffee is said to be a drink that gives people the “courage and determination to perform all of their duties.”

Coffee beans not only make a tasty drink, these beans are a cash crop that provide a great source of revenue for farmers, like the men and women in Sasiga. That is why Food for the Hungry (FH) helped these farmers overcome difficulties to start growing coffee beans for income.

In 2003, farmers in Sasiga tried to grow different crops on termite-infested lands. The bugs devoured sprouting plants overnight.

Poor farmers like Dereje Motuma lived in frustration and hunger. Dereje tried to earn a living as a laborer, since farming was impossible. But work for him was hard to find, and he and his family felt hunger pains every day.

But life changed–and this time for the better. Food for the Hungry (FH) came to Dereje’s community and worked with farmers to start growing crops.

Through FH classes, Dereje learned to rid his property of termites and learned about agro-forestry. He mastered how to make and use compost. He gained knowledge of business management, marketing and growing a private plant nursery, and raising coffee bean trees.

Dereje practiced agro-forestry by growing indigenous trees alongside of his coffee bean seedlings. Coffee bean trees grow better with shade, so the other trees provided an enriched environment for a better coffee crop.

Now, Dereje earns income from his coffee bean crop. He’s also growing other crops like vegetables to feed his family. He’s become a better farmer using irrigation, pest-control, and fertilizing practices to get the most from his land.

The coffee also provides Dereje and his wife with a way to bring the community together.

They invite neighbors to their home to drink coffee and discuss various social issues, such as community business and ways they can improve life for themselves. The gathering serves as a forum to address issues.

This is the kind of creative work faithful partners like you can support through Food for the Hungry.

Trees are reforesting Sasiga, turning what was once a wasteland into an oasis of coffee bean producing farms that help feed families. It’s also bringing people together as a community.

So when you drink your next cup of coffee, remember how on the other side of the world, this little bean is changing lives.

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