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Sustainable agriculture development in Ethiopia

Sustainable agriculture development in Ethiopia



Hailu Araya, Institute for Sustainable Development (Ethiopia) presents the Ethiopian Sustainable Development Project at the IFOAM side event at UNFCCC SB 32, Bonn, June 3rd 2010

Hailu Araya, Institute for Sustainable Development (Ethiopia) presents the Ethiopian Sustainable Development Project at the IFOAM side event at UNFCCC SB 32, Bonn, June 3rd 2010



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  • Organic principles of health, ecology, fairness, and caring for the earth
  • The farmers use their own varieties (landraces)

Sustainable agriculture development in Ethiopia Sustainable agriculture development in Ethiopia Presentation Transcript

    Sue Edwards, DerejeGebre Michael, Hailu Araya and ArefayneAsmelash
    Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopiahailuara@yahoo.com
    • Area about 1.12 million square Km
    • A rugged and mountainous country
    • High population about 80 million.
    • It is the water tower’ of eastern Africa - providing over 85% of the waters of the Nile and some to Kenya (Omo) and Somalia (Juba)
    • A country of smallholder farmers
  • The challenge of over-grazing and gullies in Tigray
  • The key components of the Tigray Project
    • Promote and strengthen existing local bylaws - government accepted restoration of control and use by local communities
    • Biological and physical Soil & Water conservation including planting multipurpose trees e.g., Sesbaniasesban
    • Women support based on environmental sustainability
    • Promoting Innovator farmers bringing local solutions
    • Connecting the new generation to the Sustainable Dev. Program and their elders
    • Promoting controlled grazing especially access to vulnerable land
    • Restoring soil fertility through low external inputs mainly compost, and helping farmers avoid debt paid for chemical fertilizer
  • Why Tigray (sustainable development) project?
    High attention was given to mineral fertilizer and High Yield Varieties
    The prices of mineral fertilizer is/was beyond the purchasing power of smallholder farmers
    High cost of production
    Low market price of agricultural production
    High pressure on smallholder farmers
  • Ecological agriculture
    • It is ‘in tune’ with the local ecology
    • It builds on and enhances the traditional knowledge, practices and innovations of the farming communities
    • It uses low external inputs, which are readily available and affordable by the farmers
    • Ecological practices have spread throughout the country
  • Soil fertility improvement
    The project come up with a low external input i.e. compost – farmers to choose
    It reduces expenditure and stress
    Yield of grain and straw is equal or more than the production of mineral fertilizer
    This transformed farmers from high external input into low external input agriculture
    B/c local authorities were convinced that farmers can produce enough with compost
    Its residual effect serve longer especially after continuous use of compost for 2-3 years
    Improves soil moisture especially the duration of rain is shortened
  • Farmers’ practice - Results from over 900 samples from farmers fields over 7 years
  • The net income of the three crops (ETB/ha)
  • Plant protection
    The introduction of HYV was supported with pesticides
    Pesticides – retard plant growth e.g. 2.4.D delayed teff 10-15 days compared with no application
    Kills and then reduce the size of bee colony
    Reduce the production of honey
    Then transforming from pesticides into traditional plant protection –
    - reducing use of pesticides.
    - Communities are banning use of pesticides
  • Natural resource conservation
    Physical and biological soil and water conservation improved watersheds
    Gullies reclaimed
    Catchments are occupied by beekeeping
    Landless and unemployed youth are organized in bee keeping development
    Plant cover is improved
    Beekeeping development generate higher incomes,
    Springs re-appeared – micro-irrigation started
  • AdiNefas- All components being used
    Rehabilitated gully
    Sesbaniatrees and long grasses
    Composted fields of tef, wheat and barley
  • Agricultural diversification
    Number of crops grown per family or farm increased
    Agriculture created complementarities
    Increase intensive way of production like inter-cropping, double-cropping,
    Production and income per unit area increased
  • Reconnecting the new generation into local practices
    Students are increasing their awareness through their environmental clubs
    Students implement environmental conservation at school compounds and family lands
    They respect and participate in their family activities
  • Promoting innovator farmers
    Innovator farmers start a technology from local problems and local resources
    Local innovations are cheap and easy to understand
    Open for other members
  • Bee forage
  • Water-lifting innovations
  • Easy to be copied
  • Energy and labour saving
  • Water use efficiency
  • Harmonizing the extension approach
    Connecting the gap between farmers and extension workers
    Improve dialogue
    Experience sharing events
    Train farmers as Training of Trainers (TOT) to train other farmers -
    Develop trust between farmers and extension workers
  • Introducing a system of crop intensification (SCI)
    • Based on System of Rice Intensification developed in Madagascar 25 years ago
    • In Ethiopiafinger millet – average 4 – 6 t/ha compared to about 2 t/ha normal practice. In 2003, an old woman got 7.8 t/ha.
    • Tried in 2009 with tef at a research station, and wheat, finger millet, sorghum, maize and lentil with farmers
    • 2010 – preparations in 3 research stations and 10 districts with farmers
  • Cont.
    SCI helps:
    Compensates the delay of the on-set of rain – putting as seedling at the beginning
    Easy to the efficient use of compost
    Easy to weed and harvest
    Help crops to increase tiller per plant and then production (grain and straw)
  • Summary
    • Compost managed the challenge of difficult weeds in a win-win approach e.g. using Parthenium as compost
    • Avoidance of debt and delays in getting chemical fertilizer
    • Aquifers recharged – springs reappeared
    • Family income increased very much
    • Double cropping, i.e. 2 crops per year with access to harvested water
    • Farmers diversify production and introduce perennial crops
    • Families better fed and clothed and children able to attend school
    • Local by-laws are respected – to control and use their resources under their own choices
  • The way-forward
    Support farmers in promoting their own skills and practices than pushing them to be recipient
    Farmers’ CC adaptation works well – needs to be promoted
    Environmental conservation and making and using of compost has been incorporated as part of the standard extension package
    Climate Change negotiations should be the start of support for “the Tigray Project” to be adapted / adopted in Sub-Saharan Africa and other countries around the world
  • Agroforestry as local practice
  • A farmer of the future