Family Farming Knowledge Platform


Agriculture is an integral part of the livelihood of about 73 per cent of the Eritrean population. All agricultural activities mainly, livestock tending and milking, crop production, marketing of agricultural produce, etc. are carried with the involvement of all family members. For instance men are fully tied with land preparation, sowing, threshing and tending of adult livestock; while children have the responsibility of tending small ruminants and women are involved in the processing and marketing of butter/ghee, weeding and collection of crops and making and selling of handcrafts from non wood timber products. Generally speaking all family members play an indispensable role in poverty eradication and improvement of standards of living of the family.


The Ministry of Agriculture has devised a Modular Approach towards meeting food and nutrition security and poverty eradication at household level. This strategy is called Minimum Integrated Household Package MIHP). The MIHP is put into practice mainly to promote grass-root level integrated agro-development activities at sub-Zoba, Mmhdar-kebabis and Village levels. Hence, Region, Sub-Region, Local Administration and Village Level integrated modular agro-development approaches are exercised to link any water development program with the promotion and development of small holder farms.

The package consists of the supply of one pregnant selected Local/Cross breed cow; 25 backyard one month old chicks, of which 5 of them are males; two beehives with some basic accessories; ten fruit tree seedlings; and ten tree seedlings, of which five of them are fodder trees and the remaining five are used as a source of fire wood for the energy efficient traditional Adhanet stove. The small holder farmer should at least have up to 2500 m2 of farm land to produce diverse agricultural products; namely fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products, eggs, meat and animal fodder. If the farmer allocates 500 m2 of land for vegetable production; he will be able to satisfy his home demand from the 100m2 plot; and the produce from the 400m2 area can be sold to at least to four families of the nearby villages. The same also applies to the other products.

Family farms integrating animal, vegetable, fruits and honey production can easily secure household nutritional requirements. This is because most of the essential nutrients are produced at a lower cost; just by utilizing family labour only. Besides, farmers involved in such small scale farm activities could also play a great role in increasing the supply of agricultural products and stabilizing market.

Rural communities, if they are involved in smallholder farm activities, would be able to change their life styles and develop coping mechanisms and resilience to human and nature triggered shocks. The economic benefits derived from running family farms are:
· Diverse means of livelihood;
· Reliable source of income;
· Nutritional status improvement of the beneficiary families and nearby communities;
· Market stabilization attributed to year round supply of fresh farm produce.

In addition to the above mentioned economic advantages, family farms can act as model farms to be replicated to other areas. The benefits of an Eritrean farmer who runs MIHP are as follows:
1. From one cross bred cow, managed on forage based production system, at least 10 litres of milk can be obtained per day. If two litres is consumed at home, the remaining 8 litres can be sold to neighbours for Nakfa 25 a litre; enabling the family to earn Nakfa 200 on daily basis. Assuming that 40% of the income is utilized by the cow (for medication and other consumable things), the remaining 60% (120 Nakfa multiplied by 210 days lactation length, which is equivalent to Nakfa 25,200.00) can be used in the improvement of family livelihood.
2. From the 20 backyard layer chickens,if 15 of them are assumed to lay eggs on daily basis, a farmer could be in a position to collect at least 3,000 eggs in 200 days. If 1,000 of the eggs are consumed at home, the family can generate a minimum of 8,000 Nakfa per annum.
The surplus milk and eggs delivered to the market can satisfy the nutritional demands of 4 extra households. This could in turn lead to the creation of nutritionally secure and healthy families and neighbor hoods.
3. A farmer provided with 2 modern beehives can produce a minimum of 60 kilograms of honey per year. It is assumed that only 10 kilograms of honey is consumed at home. The rest 50 kilograms of honey can be sold for Nakfa 20,000; and the sales income utilized in the improvement of household livelihood.
4. From the ten trees, a farmer can also collect fodder and fire wood capable enough to feed his one dairy cow and generate energy using the energy saving stove year round.
5. Eventually Collection, Processing and Marketing of the products would be

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