With a wife and seven children under the age of 18 to support by working his small farm in Ethiopia’s arid south, Mudin Mekuria jumped at the chance to take part in a new agricultural initiative that will help him stabilize and expand his income — and move his family beyond subsistence farming.

Embodying the Jewish imperative to engage in efforts to “repair the world,” TOV aims to help farmers lift themselves out of poverty, empower women and young people in rural communities, and bolster their overall economic growth. It showcases Israel’s ability to be a “light unto the nations,” while carrying forward a JDC tradition of nonsectarian assistance that dates back to 1921, when JDC partnered with the U.S. government to respond to a prolonged and devastating famine in Ukraine.

Calling the Israeli AgTech system “significantly different compared to what I did before,” Mekuria now intends to use it in all his fields, claiming it reduces labor costs and makes irrigation and fertilization both simpler and more effective.

“A proof of how amazing this technology is,” he said, “is that I see that all of the tomato plots in the area are heavily infected with viruses, but in my plot, despite that problem, I succeed in producing salable tomatoes thanks to these new methods.”

Mekuria says he wants to use this new system to grow other “high-quality products that will be good for exporting.” That way he will no longer have to “base my income only on the local market” and can achieve the dreams he has for his family.

Many of his neighbors have visited his farm and would like to join the project, and Mekuria “truly hopes TOV can expand this knowledge to everybody.” He is grateful to “the TOV people, and especially the Israelis” who have come to support him and are “even helping in the field. They are sitting with us on the ground and working with us in the mud, all to improve our society’s life and stop the poverty. I really appreciate that amazing help!”