Whenever people mention the country of Ethiopia, the first thing that inevitably comes to mind is the country’s battles with famine and poverty. But Ethiopia has a very different story to tell today.
Thanks to the government’s investments in agriculture—which employs more than 80 percent of the population—Ethiopia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, helping millions of people climb out of extreme poverty.
One of the people who has helped make this transformation possible is Tenaw Muluye. Tenaw, 25, is part of Ethiopia’s 72,000-person strong agricultural extension service.
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Tenaw travels the countryside teaching farmers how to grow more food and earn more income. He works with them on how to use the best seeds and fertilizer, irrigate their crops, and protect their land from erosion. In a country where most farmers use oxen to plow their fields, Tenaw is eager to introduce new technologies and advancements that will give them bigger harvests and more money in their pockets.
Tenaw is not alone in meeting this challenge. Agricultural extension agents play a critical role across Africa, where about three-quarters of the continent’s poorest people make their livelihoods farming small plots of land. Helping them get the most out of their farms is one of the surest paths out of poverty for them and their countries.