Food security in rural Ethiopia
Sustainable land use and fighting poverty in drought-prone Ethiopia
The Siraro District of Southern Ethiopia suffers regularly from food shortages. Higher temperatures and lower rainfall are major problems in this drought-threatened region. Natural resources continue to decline and so yields from arable and livestock farming – on which people depend for survival – are repeatedly at their limit; shortages of water, firewood and charcoal are a growing problem. People have insufficient food and their health suffers, particularly women, who are already disadvantaged in these traditional societies.
The project will identify natural resources in the three villages of Almento Sirbo, Nuna Raba and Loke Hada in Siraro District and then introduce measures to restore them. The project, which is located in a major water catchment area, will work in partnership with local communities to implement measures such as erosion control, reforestation, introduction of wood-saving stoves and improvements to soil fertility. The second part of the prevention strategy is to create income-generating opportunities for the affected population. As a preliminary step, the project completed a baseline study and then working with local people it selected a range of potential niche activities. In addition to the production and sale of timber and fruit from the trees, they include poultry rearing and egg sales, beekeeping and the sale of honey, kitchen gardens for the sustainable growing of vegetables and also goat farming. The creation of new income-generating opportunities should reduce dependence on emergency aid. During periods of drought, the money earned can be used to buy food and in good times the surplus can be reinvested in the development of additional income opportunities.
The availability and productivity of farm land in Siraro continues to decline as a result of climate change, soil erosion and the destruction of pastures. In the longer term, the project seeks to bring about a change to sustainable agriculture. Here, Biovision is able to make good use of its many years of experience in ecological farming. The project will help to improve the management of resources and the development of sustainable agriculture. In addition, it will develop methods that can be applied elsewhere in Siraro. Another important aspect of the project is to raise awareness locally of the need to protect the environment.
- 800 households each received two goats.
- 450 households received a total of 2,270 hens and cockerels.
- 18 hectares of land was being cultivated at the end of 2016 using the new measures to protect resources.
- 75 households each received modern beehives.
- 9,406 cattle, goats and sheep and 1,528 hens inoculated.
- 100 women trained in the ecological cultivation of garden vegetables.
- 383 households received energy-saving stoves.
Following introduction of the new measures to protect resources, it takes time for the effects to manifest themselves in the environment; it is 4 -5 years before concrete improvements can be seen.
The withdrawal of Biovision and other partners is based on two important factors:
1. Throughout the entire project phase, direct beneficiaries are provided with sound knowledge that they themselves can test and develop. Acting as multipliers, they are then in a position to expand the circle of beneficiaries.
2. Government advisory services are trained and strengthened so that they can pass on their knowledge of measures to protect resources, sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, etc. to other villages in the project area.
A further project phase (2018-2020) is therefore being considered that directly reflect both factors.