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Farmers Embracing Smart Agriculture

Ethiopia, Africa

NGOs are helping farmers in the developing world become businesspeople. And thanks to exciting advances in agriculture, these farmers are taking part in a green revolution.

Complete Video Script

Ironically, most of the hungry people in the world are farmers. Helping farmers grow more food more profitably is essential in overcoming extreme poverty. More food means more money, which fuels development.

Exciting advances in agriculture have resulted in a green revolution throughout the developing world. Ethiopia is becoming a model of development, thanks to governmental leadership.

The country is divided into 18,000 districts — each with a Farmers' Training Center. The government employs 60,000 teachers and coaches to make sure smart agricultural policies are implemented throughout the country.

Tedi: Here we train farmers on different disciplines. On livestock production, feed management, irrigation, and water management.

Here at Abadi's training center, local farmers learn why it's important to plant seeds in a line rather than scattering. They learn to rotate crops with plants like alfalfa, which reinvigorates the depleted soil. And the government has studied the soil across Ethiopia and recommends just the right mix of fertilizer for each district.

Smart farming includes selective breeding so animals can survive local conditions as well as increase their production. This cow is a Holstein crossed with an African breed — hardy in the heat, and giving more than double the milk. These hybrid chickens lay triple the eggs compared to the local ones.

The value of these new farming techniques is evident back on Abadi's farm. While his parents subsisted on corn only, he's diversified his crops. Better seeds allow three harvests a year, rather than two.

In the far reaches of Guatemala, this family is also working hard with coaching from an NGO. And their yield is also better than ever. A simple change — like just the right spacing of seeds, and smart use of fertilizer — can make a big difference.

Nearby another nongovernmental organization — mindful that dairy is a great source of protein and [that] Mayan children are better able to digest goat's milk than cow's milk — has helped a community build a goat breeding center. This gives local families a chance to produce a carefully selected breed of goat and raise them at home to produce more milk.

Villagers bring their female goat to the love shack. After a few minutes in the adjacent pen, she goes home pregnant. Soon the family will have plenty of extra milk, better nourished children, and surplus dairy products to sell in the market.