Food Security & Value Chain Development Unit

The traditional development concept among the members of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church was practical even before the current development approach institutionalized during early 1970s. It was deep rooted into the local church structure so that each local church had   developed a labor contribution day per week on behalf of a given local church. That means that each member of the local church contributes one Labor Day to his church and the church uses it in a number of ways, including:

  • Working on church farming activities, fencing and constructing/maintaining the church,
  • Assisting elderly people, widows, and orphans with their plowing and planting, constructing houses, etc.  
  • Selling man-days to those members on high labor demand to raise funds on behalf of the church to further support the existing church services, etc.

This approach was purely indigenous and dominant development model existed prior to early 1970’s before the donor assisted large scale projects introduced into the system. Such projects came into existence following the droughts and subsequent famines occurred in the country, particularly in the northern parts of the country.

EKHCDC, to improve the livelihood and Food Security of the rural community, applies integrated rural development and food security approach via the introduction of improved farming techniques and animal husbandry methods as well as the protection and sustainable management of natural resources. CA (Conservation Agriculture) is one of the technical farming practices applied in FS projects. Income generation activities like bee keeping, highland fruit productions, vegetable production for nutrition and income etc are also applied.

Within all food security projects, women empowerment is also incorporated via mainstreaming gender concepts, engaging women and the land less youth in various entrepreneurships like stove making, poultry & small ruminants keeping, establishing various SHGs etc.

Since 1970s, EKHCDC has been implementing different integrated rural development projects in various parts of the country focusing on food security as well as adding to the value chain with emphasis on:

  • Improving production capacities of target households with the objective of making them food-secure year-round,
  • Protecting and  rehabilitating the denuded environments through integrated water shade management and agro forestry practice,
  • Increasing and sustaining household incomes and  protecting their livelihood,
  • Accessing women to resources and technologies to help them engage in additional income generating activities aimed at improving their physical and mental wellbeing.

The major strategies being in use include:

  • promoting  the implementation of environmentally friendly soil conservation farming system,
  • transferring technology and establishing demonstration sites,
  • selecting and training model farmers to  provide them with the necessary skills and technologies and arranging experience sharing to benefit others,
  • Disseminating packages of appropriate technologies using the existing system,
  • Working with communities at grass-root level thriving households,
  • Networking with local and international stakeholders in the area of advocacy, good governance and mobilization of resource to  promote self-supporting programs

Most activities/projects by the food security and value add chain unit focus on improving the food security of target households and addressing the immediate needs (for example, providing access to credit services) and long-term needs (for example, assisting them own businesses and to develop collective strategies to address collective problems) of women.

 Types of projects being implemented include:

  1. Agriculture-based activities
  • Promotion of conservational agriculture
  • Multiplication and distribution of high quality fruits and cash crops (including: highland temperate fruits and lowland fruits, spices, coffee, medicinal herbs etc.),
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Seed multiplication and establishing community seed-bank groups
  • Livestock development through, cross breeding (including: bull and AI services) and veterinary services, as well as improved forage development,  
  • Provision of  heifers,
  •  Provision of revolving fund for pest control
  • Establishing demonstration sites and nurseries for seed multiplication and distribution 
  • Training medium level agricultural extension workers with specific focus on higland fruits and medicinal herbs.
  • Introduction and promotion of apiculture (providing modern beehives)    
  1. Small scale irrigation to improve and increase annual crop yields
  2. Environment protection:

Rehabilitation of the denuded environment through area closure, tree planting and construction of physical soil conservation measures

  1. Women development focuses on:
  • Women development through home management  and  child care
  • Providing trainings on:
    • soap making,
    • sewing and embroidering,
    • secretarial service and computer training,
    • hair dressing, etc.  
  • Income generation schemes providing credits in kind  (for example: small ruminants, improved seeds, inputs for poultry production) 
  • Organizing marginalized women in groups for small scale  businesses, for example: owning and running grinding mills directly related to their immediate needs, and
  • Introducing and distributing of energy saving stoves and Enset (false banana) processing equipment.
  1. Establishing and supporting cooperatives  and self-help groups ( SHGs)
  2. Providing supports for school and adult literacy programs
  3. Constructing rural feeder road
  4.  Mainstreaming HIV /AIDS prevention and control mechanisms involving local Anti-HIV/AIDS clubs along with producing and distributing campaign materials.

Current there are two active projects located in SNNPRS

  1. Zalla Food Security and Women Empowerment Project - which is envisaged with the overall goal of contributing to improved food security and livelihood status of 1,850 food insecure households with a total population of 9,065 people (4540 female and 4525 male).
  2. Kucha CCT project aimed at empowering target churches and communities through providing condensed CCT holistic transformation training to enable them to adopt and carry-on the sustainable components of the previous EMCC supported development projects.