Fieldwork and midsummer in Ethiopia

Last week was filled with fieldwork. I was meeting with farmers to collect data for our project on income, yields and prices for different agricultural products.

In these photos, I am using the so called circle and stone method to collect income data from farmers. It is so interesting to interview farmers about their different livelihood strategies. For most farmers, there are a few main crops, most often wheat, rice, maize or teff that provide the bulk income. Most of them also usually own a small plot of eucalyptus which gives them cash every 4-5 years. Some farmers have also established very moderate fruit orchards. Growing bananas, mangos and limes can be quite profitable if the harvest is good and the monkeys don’t steal the fruits. In addition, growing fruits means children of the household get a more nutritious diet.

In our project we are working with onion and potato and it was interesting to hear that our work has brought some positive results. We have brought improved varieties for farmers, linked them with markets and provided them with trainings. As one of them put it: “Previously nobody wanted to grow onion, but now we have witnessed few of our friends who have grown the better variety. They have been very profitable and their lives have changed. We want that too.”

It seems that the very best way to convince farmers is for them to see something with their own eyes, preferably on the neighbour’s field.

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This past weekend in Finland was midsummer, one of the biggest celebrations in my home country. Midsummer marks the time of the year when the day is at its longest. A magical time, to say the least. The sun only sets for a few hours.

During our midsummer here in Ethiopia the sun set at its normal time and the rains came as usual. But we had to celebrate a little! We prepared our own midsummer menu, here we go, insert a Jamie Oliver voice here:

All right folks, so what we did last weekend was a great combination of local foods. We started off with a spicy pineapple ginger drink and then served a wonderful potato salad with a Latin twist. The potato salad was accompanied by fresh tilapia from Lake Tana. And a green salad of course!

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Our weekends here are peaceful. They follow a certain rhythm. Even the bats in our garden follow a certain rhythm. During daytime they sleep in the palm tree. Our cats Aizo and Charaka are the ultimate chill out pals, though.

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