Renewing the earth – the reforestation programmes by Menschen für Menschen

Every year in the Sahelian zone alone, enormous areas of potentially usable agricultural land turn into desert. Only three per cent of Ethiopia’s land is now covered in forests. There are many reasons for this: overgrazing, deforestation to produce urgently needed firewood, population growth and climate change all lead to land becoming desolate. As a result, vast quantities of fertile soil are washed or blown away. ‘We can’t just look on while people in our world fight for daily survival. Helping is so easy!’ says Karlheinz Böhm.

With its reforestation schemes, Menschen für Menschen helps Ethiopian farmers and their families to preserve their living environment. In 22 tree nurseries, the foundation grows seedlings for reforestation and for water and soil protection. As well as rearing coffee plants, these nurseries distribute indigenous trees and fruit trees. As many as seven million new seedlings are grown and handed out to farmers each year for the purpose of replanting and reforestation. The trees that grow from the planted seedlings help to improve the quality of the soil. The charity’s reforestation programme prevents erosion, thus creating more favourable living conditions for the people who live there.

Ababu Mamo and his children all have reason to be happy: all his life, the farmer has grown only one type of millet, called teff. That, after all, is what ‘has always been done’ in his village. When Ababu attended one of Menschen für Menschen’s training courses and heard that growing a variety of plants is better for the soil and more productive, he decided to experiment in spite of his initial scepticism. He was delighted with the results, especially with the coffee plants, and became convinced of the merits of this new method.

Bound to the land of Ethiopia
In Menschen für Menschen, Dallmayr Kaffee has found a partner that, like them, has been committed to the plight of Ethiopia for decades. The foundation has been promoting self-development for 29 years, and with modest administrative means has made enormous progress. The charity and Munich’s traditional delicatessen have been in close contact for many years. Dallmayr has worked with the foundation on numerous projects, and the first permanent one was launched in 2008: for every pound of Ethiopian Dallmayr coffee sold, five seedlings are planted in Ethiopia. By doing this, Dallmayr helps the foundation with at least two million seedlings each year, a valuable contribution to the original home of coffee that the company is only too glad to make.

The future has begun.

Picture credit:
Top row: Peter Rigaud (
Bottom row (left to right): Peter Rigaud (, Rainer Kwiotek/Zeitenspiegel