Fruits, Vegetables and Natural Pesticides, oh my! By: Tau’Toya Broadway

A few of the students and Yigra admiring teff, used in the traditional Ethiopian injera.

UNL students and Yigra admiring teff, which is used in traditional Ethiopian injera.

The agenda included going to an irrigation site with mainly fruits and vegetables and visiting a natural pesticide site. The day started off bumpy, literally. After several days of driving up and down the mountains you began to get tired of the fast and furious driving, along with twists, turns and bumps, every two seconds. But the good thing is we made it to the site safely. Upon arriving we met with a young man who led us across a large field, to the crops. On our way to the main attraction, the crops, we were shown a primary canal, secondary and tertiary canal, which receives water from a river.

Even animals make use of the primary canal.

A young farm boy and his sheep…even animals make use of the primary canal.

The handmade canal is approximately 20 years old and in impressive condition. When we made it to the main attraction we were immediately intrigued by all of the crops the farmers produce. We saw cabbage, tomatoes, mangos, avocados, teff, coffee beans… the farmers had a large variety of crops. Despite the scorching heat and long walk, we were all able to learn a thing or two about agriculture in Ethiopia.

Cabbage

Cabbage

Coffee beans

Coffee beans

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Mangoes

Mangoes

Next destination, natural pesticide site. What is amazing about this site and a lot of farms in Ethiopia is that harsh chemicals are not used to keep the pest away. They have found natural repellants to be more sufficient. The first thing we were shown was a classroom. In the classroom, 21 farmers learn how to keep everything organic. A great deal of the repellant remedies are from common knowledge and a few are tradition. The farmers were more than willing to share their knowledge with us. We learned that fermented cow’s urine can be used as a natural pesticide. Indole can be used as a laundry detergent. Azahar is a multi-purpose plant, one use is to treat human warts. The farmers had elephant grass, which can be used in the “push-pull strategy”. The elephant grass was planted around the parameter, near a desired crop, to “push” the pest away from the crop and “pull” towards the elephant plant, and then out of the plot. The site is fairly new, only 7 years young, but they have done so many great things thus far. I see nothing but ongoing success within this site.

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A plant that repels corn pesticides.

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The classroom where the farmers are taught how to make natural pesticides.

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Yigra, a Wollo University professor and the farmer showing us a few plants that are used to repel pest.

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