Boosting food security for refugees in eastern Ethiopia

Farm Africa

Farm Africa

Premium Supplier 20th April 2021
Farm Africa

Farm Africa

Premium Supplier

Boosting food security for refugees in eastern Ethiopia

Photos: Farm Africa / Maheder Haileselassie

Mohammed and his family fled their home in Somalia due to ongoing civil war. When they arrived in the Helewin refugee camp in the Dollo Ado woreda in eastern Africa, they were unable to find work and for years had to survive off food aid. 

 “When the war erupted again, I couldn’t lead my life as usual and came here. I was a bit mystified, I didn’t know anyone to get advice from,” commented Mohammed. 

Mohammed is one of thousands of refugees who are trying to build a new life in the Dollo Ado woreda area of the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia, yet, without access to finance or land, most refugees have no means to do so.

Finding work has been made more difficult by the region’s harsh arid climate, which combined with COVID-19 and unprecedented swarms of locusts, has severely impacted the agricultural sector and forced even more families in the region into extreme poverty. Prolonged droughts have shrunk grassland and water sources, and increased tensions between refugees and host communities as they have to compete over dwindling resources. 
With funding from the World Food Programme, Farm Africa is addressing this friction and increasing food security by increasing access to productive farmland and bringing host and refugees communities together to grow drought-tolerant crops. 

By working with the Ethiopian government, the charity has provided 1,000 Somalian refugees and 1,000 local residence with access to land, technology and agricultural training to increase sustainable farming in the region. Farm Africa is working with these farmers to identify, access and grow seed varieties that can withstand pests and the area’s extreme climate.

Alongside this, farmers are encouraged to share their skills, experiences and resources by forming farming cooperatives. These cooperatives demonstrate how smallholder farmers can co-exist and earn higher incomes by working together, sharing agricultural services and selling their produce in bulk. 

“The training I’ve received has helped me overcome many challenges. I have gained knowledge on irrigation farming and row sowing. Also, friends from our cooperative were helpful and willing to teach me. They taught me some farming skills, how to plough and how to make earth canals,” commented Mohammed. 

His future is more secure now he is earning a good income from growing and selling onions. With this money, he has been able to give his family a better life and has constructed a new house for his wife and children. 

“I built a new house with corrugated iron. The old house was a hut and very small for my family. On top of that, it is about to collapse, rainwater leaked through the roof and we were exposed to wind and dust. I’m so delighted I own a new house, I have curtains inside that make it beautiful. My children are safe now.”

International charity Farm Africa empowers farmers across eastern Africa to grow more, sell more and sell for more in order to build a brighter future for their families. 

You can donate and help Farm Africa’s work at

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