Standing amongst his coffee trees, Husen Mohamed Jimie Shibot is pleased with his current crop. “I would not feel like a real farmer if I didn’t grow my own coffee”, he says.
Like over two thirds of Eritreans, Mr Husen works in agriculture. He has always lived in the Geleb region, about 100 km north of the capital Asmara, where he started to work on his parents’ farm as a young man. By now, Mr. Husen is himself a father and grandfather – but only he and his wife still live on their family farm in Geleb.
“I always wanted at least one of my four children to stay and take over the farm, looking after us in our old age – that is the traditional way of life in Eritrea”, he says. But though the Eritrean climate has always been dry and crop cultivation a challenge, the conditions Mr Husen faces are very different to those of previous generations.