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Monday, 29 May 2017

Seeds Of Hope: Israelis Fight Hunger In Ethiopia By Helping Farmers Quintuple Crop Yields

Environment News 
Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels | May, 29 2017

Over 7 million people suffer from malnutrition in Ethiopia, and one of the ways to increase food security in the poor African country is to increase crop yields.

Israeli nonprofit organization Fair Planet is helping Ethiopia fight hunger by providing farmers with high-quality seeds that can better withstand harsh climate conditions, and are more resistant to pests. Partly developed in Israel, these seeds have shown to increase crop yields fivefold.

For Ethiopian family farmers, whose daily income averages around $1.5, climate change and occasional outbreaks of pests can threaten their very survival.

According to Fair Planet, some of the main problems these Ethiopian farmers face are that the local seed varieties are highly susceptible to pests and diseases. Many crops also have very short shelf lives.

The Israeli NGO provides high-quality seed varieties that are resistant to many pests and diseases, minimizing post-harvest losses. Founded in 2012 by Israeli Dr. Shoshan Haran, Fair Planet seeks to provide famine-stricken Ethiopia with food security and economic opportunities, “by making high-quality vegetable seeds, suitable to local conditions, accessible and affordable to local farmers.”

Haran, who specializes in plant protection after having worked for Israeli seed company Hazera (which means “the seed” in Hebrew), says: “I realized that the best way to help poor farmers in developing countries is to give them access to quality seeds.”

These companies breed, develop, and produce mass quantities of different seed varieties that allow farmers to grow a wide range of vegetable crops around the world.

Bringing super-seeds to famine-stricken parts of the world

Aiming to solve the problems of hunger and poverty for the poorest farmers in the world, Haran “wanted to bring what seed companies had developed to the hungry world.” And that’s why she founded Fair Planet, which currently connects companies that develop quality seed varieties to small-scale farmers in several famine-stricken Ethiopian communities.

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