|The bustling success of the farm input shop developed with the support of Self Help Africa in Eritrea’s Adi Mongoti village is living proof that project activities can and do live on long after the work has been completed.|
Managed and run by a local community co-operative association, the months of June and July see a steady procession of farmers to the shop – to buy fertiliser, seed and equipment in preparation for the new planting season.
Built by the local community in the late 1990’s, with materials provided for the construction by Self Help Africa, the input shop was developed to directly meet the specific requirements identified by local farmers during the course of needs assessment consultations which were carried by Self Help with it’s government partners and community representatives.
‘In the past the farmers in this area used to have to travel quite some distance to Mendefera town if they wanted to buy inputs such as fertilisers. This was inefficient in that the costs were greater, but of more importance it could take them a day to travel there and back’, explains Self Help’s Mesfin Woldai.
Farmers and villagers from no less than six nearby villages helped with the construction of the project, and current estimates put the number of users of the facility at more than 2,500 farm families.
‘The fertiliser cost is subsidised by the government, and is being sold to the farmers at 162 nakfa (€9.00 approx) - a price which includes a built in 15 nakfa charge towards the maintenance, upkeep and staffing of the Adi Mongoti Farm Input Shop’, Mesfin explains.
In order to strengthen the local co-operative structures, Self Help Africa has provided several hundred thousand nakfa as start up capital to a savings and credit scheme, and currently in the locality there are 40 local farmers borrowing funds to develop new farm activities which will increase their productivity and farm income.
And as a further indicator of the success of the Adi Mongoti shop – the local community and government agency recently constructed a new nursery school nearby – a sure example that villagers regard their farm shop as an integral part of community life.
Self Help Africa in Eritrea
|Self Help Africa began working in Uganda in the late 1990's, with a pilot programme to distribute seed potatoes in famine affected areas.|
Since then a series of new area based projects - at Mendefera, Emni Haili, Keren, and Gogne have been implemented.