Promising interventions in Ethiopia

Photo credit: Africa Rising

Lentil participatory variety selection (PVS) at Goshe Bado

End of season field days in Ethiopia zoom in on promising interventions

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Drought in Ethiopia

Photo credit: UN News Centre

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre), accompanied by World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin (right), visited drought-affected Ziway Dugda Woreda, Oromia Region in Ethiopia. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

 

Visiting drought-hit region of Ethiopia, Ban urges support to Government-led humanitarian efforts

The international community must stand with the people of Ethiopia in their time of need, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging donors gathered in Addis Ababa to step up assistance to the country, before heading to the drought-stricken region of Oromia where he witnessed first-hand efforts under way to battle the effects of one of the most powerful El Niño events in recorded history.

“The people of this beautiful country are facing their worst drought in thirty years,” Mr. Bantold participants at a donors humanitarian round table convened in the Ethiopian capital in the margins of the 26th African Union Summit.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General visited the drought-stricken Oromia region with the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen, and Ertharin Cousin, the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Saying that he was “very moved,” Mr. Ban visited a health post, a water borehole and a food distribution and cash transfer point.

“This is a very moving experience for me as Secretary-General to witness myself how the Ethiopian Government and the United Nations agencies, the World Bank, all humanitarian workers are working together to address difficult challenges,” he said noting that the area has been seriously impacted by long spells of drought caused by El Niño climate phenomenon. “It is important that the Government is leading this response and the United Nations is now helping: it is quite moving,” he reiterated.

The Secretary-General went on to say that when he saw the people working and trying to get water and trying to improve their health nutrition conditions, it took him back brought more than 60 years ago “when […] I was a young boy in Korea, early 1950s. As you may know, Korea had war at the time. When the war broke out, we were [in a situation] as difficult as people are now here, even more difficult at the time.”

He said he was very much grateful to all humanitarian workers at the small health post where he had seen health workers distributing vaccines, and providing check-ups. It was impressive to see that malnutrition levels had dropped significantly and that people had been saved from malaria.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

 

More money needed for food aid

 

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Failed sorghum crop, as the current El Niño pattern, being the strongest ever recorded, has caused severe drought in Ethiopia. Photo: UNOCHA Ethiopia/Lemma Tamiru

As food emergency intensifies in drought-hit Ethiopia, UN appeals for more resources

Despite the well-coordinated response already under way to offset the impacts of an El Niño-induced drought in Ethiopia, the United Nations humanitarian wing has warned that the scale of the developing emergency exceeds resources and that more funding is urgently needed to ensure food distribution and child protection amid ongoing malnutrition and water shortages.

“Resources currently in-hand do not guarantee a full relief food basket for beneficiaries,” said the latest weekly update on Ethiopia compiled by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

It also added that “without additional resources, the food sector projects a full pipeline break in a couple of months.”

$1.2 billion is needed for food relief to10.2 million people. However, the current appeal is only funded by one third.

Given the lead times necessary for the procurement of relief items, the Government and its international partners have called for early action to this slow onset natural disaster.

Fragmentation of delivery is of critical priority as it has negative implications for nutrition and health, and the beneficiaries have to travel more than twice to the food distribution point within short period.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is helping deliver food to 2 million people and has started using the humanitarian supplies from the Port of Berbera in Somaliland.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Drought-Resistant White Beans for Smallholder Farmers

Photo credit: Food Tank

The drought in Ethiopia is threatening the livelihoods of smallholder farmers who grow 10 percent of the world’s white beans.
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Drought-Resistant White Beans Bring Hope to Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest exporters of white beans, most commonly used to make baked beans. But, severe drought in the country is threatening bean production and the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers who are responsible for the majority of the white bean crop. Food Tank interviewed researchers from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) who wrote a recent report on this crisis and on deploying a new drought-resilient bean variety to Ethiopia.

Food Tank (FT): The drought in Ethiopia has cut yields of beans by 30 percent. Can you explain the effect this percentage has on both the economy and food production?

Georgina Smith (GS): This percentage is the estimated loss for smallholder farmers in terms of their yield. Around three million smallholder farmers in Ethiopia rely on white pea bean sales to buy food and cover other costs, like school fees. In terms of the overall impact on the economy, it is too early to tell. White pea beans are not Ethiopia’s main export, but they are worth more than US$90 million per year. In terms of the impact on food production, most of the white pea beans are not consumed domestically – their value is in the export price – but domestic consumption is increasing.

FT: Ethiopia accounts for about 10 percent of the global supply of white beans. What is the ripple effect this drought has had on the rest of the world?

GS: The threat is mostly to smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, who risk their income from the beans. If the total volume of beans for canning goes down, companies who depend on Ethiopia for their bean supply will be at risk.

According to Eliud Birachi, an International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) market economist working with the Pan-African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), said tackling climate-related issues is critical given rising demand for the beans.

Read the full article: Food Tank

Food insecurity caused by El Niño-induced drought

Photo credit: UN News Centre

West Hararghe region, Ethiopia, December 2015. Some 10.2 million people are food insecure amidst one of the worst droughts to hit Ethiopia in decades. Photo: WFP/Stephanie Savariaud

Ethiopia: $50 million needed to tackle food insecurity caused by El Niño-induced drought, says UN

As the worst El Niño-induced drought has sparked a sharp deterioration in food security and massive drop in agricultural and pastoral production in Ethiopia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today presented a $50 million plan to assist agriculture- and livestock-dependent households and enhance their resilience.

“The outlook for 2016 is very grim,” said Amadou Allahoury, FAO Representative for Ethiopia, adding that “continued drought throughout the beginning of 2016 also means pasture will become even more scarce, which will negatively impact livestock keepers that rely on those grazing lands and water points for their food security.”

The current El Niño pattern, being the strongest ever recorded, has caused severe drought in the Horn of Africa nation, resulting in crop reduction by 50 to 90 per cent; even failure in some regions. Thus, some 10.2 million people are food insecure and farmers have been left vulnerable without valuable seeds for upcoming planting season.

Moreover, livestock will become leaner, sicker and less productive and perish, as worsening access to pasture and water continues, according to FAO’s latest assessments. Meanwhile, malnutrition rates have spiked and the number of severe acute malnutrition admissions for children is now the highest ever reported.

In response, FAO has outlined an emergency roadmap aiming at assisting 1.8 million farmers and livestock keepers, reducing food gaps, and restoring agricultural production and incomes in 2016.

“$50 million is now sought from the international community by FAO to reach and this is an immediate need because we have to be there in the next few weeks for them for the farmers and pastoralists to start agriculture and this is a very urgent need for assistance,” Shukri Ahmed, FAO Senior Economist, appealed in a video interview.

First, FAO plans to assist 131,500 households through agricultural production, especially for the first half of 2016. This includes emergency seed distribution, small-scale irrigation and backyard gardening initiatives, support for seed producers and women’s empowerment.

Next, some 293,000 households will benefit from FAO’s livestock interventions, such as the distribution of emergency animal feed, vaccination drives, restocking of 100,000 goats and sheep to vulnerable households, as well as cash-for-livestock exchange programmes.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

How local solutions to water access could deliver sustainable growth

Photo credit: IWMI

Water from a river is diverted to a small tank to be used in Ethiopia for cultivation – Photo Fitsum Hagos

Is small beautiful for Africa’s farmers?

More than half a billion Africans, or some two thirds of the continent’s population, depend on farming as their primary source of livelihood. While this number includes pastoralists and the landless, the great majority of these are smallholder farmers, 80 per cent of whom farm less than two hectares. [1] For many the one key factor constraining an improvement in their lives is a lack of access to water. This is not because the landscape lacks water – far from it: only a tiny fraction of the available water is productively used. The critical issue is one of timing…

Rainfall in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa is highly seasonal. This means that unless farmers can store water and then have the means to access it, they are limited to one harvest per year. Aside from natural surface stores like lakes and wetlands, water can be accumulated in ponds or reservoirs, or underground in aquifers. Then, of course, some form of pump is usually needed to get the water from where it is stored to where it is needed.

Early attempts to improve agricultural water access in Africa usually revolved around the construction of large publicly run irrigation schemes. But the results were generally disappointing: overall the large systems did not deliver the expected increases in crop yields or farm incomes. More recently the focus has shifted to smaller on-farm water access. Both approaches are important, but ceding control of water management to individual farmers has many advantages in countries where public institutions are often weak. If farmers can control their own water access, they have a much better opportunity to grow high value crops like vegetables during dry periods.

The situation is complex, however. Well managed public irrigation schemes can still deliver spectacular results. Individual farm innovations are popular with smallholders, but many do not have the resources to invest. In some areas a combination of the two can be the most appropriate solution to equitable and sustainable water management.

 

Read the full article: IWMI

Solar pumps in Ethiopia

Photo credit: Africa Rising – https://agintensificationafrica.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/solar-pumps.jpg?w=225&h=300

 

Solar pumps seeing the light in Lemo, Ethiopia

In September 2015, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) installed solar pumps in Upper Gana and Jawe, two communities in southern Ethiopia.

The new solar pumps developed by the Dutch NGO Practica and produced in Kenya are for the first time being implemented in Ethiopia. Africa RISING is the first to test them out – or rather the farmers are the first.

Together with IWMI, farmers cultivating avocado, fodder and vegetables will be testing the robustness of the technology in the upcoming dry season. Aside from the agronomic and irrigation research, IWMI will be working with the Omo Micro Finance Institution to assess whether it is a viable investment.

Read the full article: Africa Rising