A small scale farmer in Ethiopia

Photo credit: UNCCD

Worldbank/Terra Africa

Meri Geta Hulgize Nurelgne: Farmer, Wereda: East Estie, Kebele: Zegora Wemberoch

The World’s Land Heroes

The land here used to be barren and dry – no trees grew, and the soil kept washing away down the hill into the Nile. Large rocks would often roll down and drop on our villages. Since the terraces have been built with the trees, we can find water within 7 metres of ground level – we used to struggle to find water at 20 metres. I now produce a higher quality crop, with two to three times the yield. I can now send my children to school. I have three daughters at university – one has just finished her Master’s degree. I also have a son at school, and I send my grandchildren to school too.

Meri Geta is one of some 500 million small scale farmers around the world support their families and the livelihoods of 2 billion people. Without sustainable land management, how can we meet the universal goals of equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water (Goal 6.1), end hunger and ensure access to safe and nutritious food (Goal 2.1), double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers (Goal 2.3), restore degraded land and soil (Goal 15.3), ensure inclusive and equitable quality education (Goal 4) and eliminate gender disparities in education (Goal 4.5)?

Posted by UNCCD on Facebook 2015-06-05

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.