Smallholder farmers are at the heart of our business
We currently support and source from more than 150+ smallholder families who typically farm on less than one hectare of land at our flagship site in Butajira, Ethiopia.
Wherever we work, we believe that smallholder farms can and should work better for farmers, for the environment, and for our global food systems. We train farmers to utilize techniques like intercropping and plant perennial crops that allow for year-round harvesting and steady incomes.
Meet one of our partner farmers: belaynesh berhe
About Belaynesh Berhe & family: A member of GreenPath Food’s ‘pilot’ cohort of Partner Farmers in 2015, Belaynesh, her husband Aboneh Bargicho, and three children farm on 1,052 m2 of land a 15 min bajaj ride from Butajira. While small, mixed, and appearingly chaotic, at a closer glance, their farm is a lush food forest with multiple stories of avocado trees, vegetables, and herbs - all intentionally planted to perfectly complement each other's agro-ecological needs.
What grows there: One year before joining GreenPath, Belaynesh was sewing maize, which she grew during the rainy season and received payment for only once per year. Now free from the cycle of monoculture and subsistence farming, the land yields with a diverse offering of organic avocado trees and aromatic herbs. Belaynesh’s biggest-earning crops include Fuerte, Ettinger, Hass, Nabal, and Pinkerton avocados, as well as rosemary and lavender. For most of these perennial crops, Belaynesh harvests and receives payment weekly.
How much she earned before GreenPath: Prior to working with GreenPath, Belaynesh earned 3,000 – 4,000 birr per year from her maize. Her input costs included seeds and annual labor. She did not purchase other inputs, due to the prohibitive costs.
Current earnings: Belaynesh began working with GreenPath in 2017, and has more than doubled her annual income during that time. In 2017, her annual income was 13,721 birr; and in 2018, it increased 104% to 28,000 birr per year. Today, she buys seeds and seedlings on credit from GreenPath. She also has five seasonal laborers who work to maintain the land, during key periods of the year.
How they’re using the money: Belaynesh earns the majority of her income from avocados and herbs. When asked about the change in her life, Belaynesh says: “Before GreenPath, my income was not very good. But now, we work very hard and see the benefits in higher income.”
Belaynesh reported that her family was able to purchase four dairy cows and, in the future, would like to get a makina (a car).
“My home life has changed completely. I was able to pay for our son’s wedding, and now we are building a house for his family on our property,” she says. She and her husband are planning for their second son’s wedding next year.