Bogale Borena set up an avocado nursery in Yargalem, south of Ethiopia, and the initiative has been so successful that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has named him 17 food heroes.
Food Heroes is recognized for its commitment to providing food in and out of their community.
He spoke to the United Nations ahead of World Food Day, which is marked October 16 each year.
“My name is Bogle Borena and I am a father of six and fifty years. I recently set up an avocado nursery with the capacity to produce av0,000 grafted seedlings, which I can sell to 300,000,000 avocado farmers who cultivate crops in the Sedama and SNNPR regions of Ethiopia. I now employ 14 young people in the nursery.
I was inspired to grow avocados when I set up a new avocado oil processing plant in the Integrated Agro Industries Park (IAIP) near my village.
The park employs 490 locals and is the first park of its kind in my area. It works closely with small farmers to ensure adequate supply of avocado.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, provides technical assistance for the development of a quality discipline project, which includes productivity and quality of commercial avocado varieties.
It promotes sustainable farming practices for local small holders.
Through careful avocado nursery management, grafting equipment and polythene bags, I have increased production from 15,000 seedlings in 2020 to 40,000 in 2021.
It takes less than a year for the seedlings to grow and sell, and it takes about three to four years to catch the fruit of the tree, so there has been an immediate payment for me.
I was initially selling saplings locally for 50 beers ($ 1). My potential annual earnings are now 2 million birs (about ,000 44,000). Next year, in 2022, I want to double my production to 100,000 seedlings.
By growing grafted avocado seedlings, I have increased my income and changed my family life.
As a result, I can plan my home improvement, buy a truck to transport fruit and other agricultural materials, and set up a flour mill in my village. It will serve the local community and create employment opportunities for local youth.
I think my nursery is a good example of how an inclusive agricultural value chain can increase youth employment and farmers’ incomes, and contribute to poverty alleviation. ”