Food security in rural Ethiopia

Sustainable land use and fighting poverty in drought-prone Ethiopia

Project

-> Three stories from Ethiopia: 15 May 2016  “Treasure Trove”; 14 April 2016 “With trees you can earn money” and  3 April 2016 “Step-by-step towards independence

The project “Food security in rural Ethiopia” will identify and implement ways of restoring natural resources in villages in the districts of Siraro and Arsi Negele. Working with local people, it will investigate options for erosion control, reforestation, the introduction of wood-saving stoves and improvements to soil fertility and then implement the required measures. 

In addition, the project will improve livelihoods by creating income-generating opportunities for local people. A baseline study has already been completed and a range of potential niche activities identified. They include growing trees and selling the fruit and timber, poultry rearing and egg sales, beekeeping and honey sales, kitchen gardens and rearing goats. The creation of new sources of income will reduce reliance on external aid. In addition, the farmers will be able to use surplus monies to develop further income opportunities.

The project not only provides families with small livestock but also offers training in animal husbandry so that smallholders can boost incomes and improve their lives.

Relevance

The availability and productivity of land for cultivation in Siraro and Arsi Negele continue to decline because of climate change, soil erosion and the destruction of grazing land. The longer-term aim of the project is to increase soil fertility by reducing erosion and raising groundwater levels. In addition, the project will help the transition to a more sustainable agriculture and here, Biovision can contribute its years of experience in ecological farming. The project will seek to improve the management of resources and develop sustainable agriculture. By cooperating with national agencies, the knowledge obtained as part of the project will be disseminated more widely and shared with other districts. Another important aspect of the project is to raise awareness amongst local people of the need to protect the environment.

Beneficiaries (2018 - 2020)

  • Develop and strengthen 24 water corporations
  • 4,400 farmers will learn how to prevent erosion
  • 7,300 households will plant a total of 375,000 trees
  • 2,000 households will receive energy-efficient stoves that reduce wood consumption by one-third
  • 600 households will be trained in Push-Pull technology
  • 300 households will receive goats for milk production and breeding
  • 700 households will receive hens for egg production
  • 140 households will be trained in beekeeping and each will receive two beehives
  • 360 households will improve their diet by creating vegetable gardens
  • Establish 20 rainwater collection points in order to reduce the duration of water shortages by at least two months
  • Vaccinate and worm 25,000 animals.
The project supports households headed by women as a deliberate way of strengthening their position in society.

Sustainability

The effects of resource management techniques are not visible immediately; it takes some 4 ‑ 5 years before positive improvements to the environment become apparent.

The withdrawal by Biovision and other partners in due course is based on two important factors:

  1. Direct beneficiaries are given sound knowledge throughout the entire duration of a project phase; this allows participants to test and develop this knowledge themselves and act as multipliers by disseminating it further.  
  2. Government advisory services are trained and strengthened; this allows them to disseminate their knowledge of resource management, sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, etc. to other villages in the project area.
Maize stalks are an important source of animal fodder and a valuable fuel.