Bridging forage shortages along the watershed continuum: Transforming degraded lands into income generating potential in Tigray, northern Ethiopia
Bridging forage shortages along the watershed continuum: Transforming degraded lands into income generating potential in Tigray, northern Ethiopia International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), IPMS-ILRI, P.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 3.2 Changes in intensity and frequency of grazing1. Introduction Feed shortage has been identified as one of the key Intensity of grazing: Modified and limiting factors for livestock productivity and improved to maintain adequate household income generation in Atsbi-Womberta green leaves as a starting position district. For this purpose, improved forage devel- (Wo) for fast regrowth, and reduce opment interventions have been tested and pro- the recovery time (to) compared to moted along the watershed continuum and the key achievements and lessons captured are presented. high intensity of grazing (Figure below).2. Intervention approaches 2.1 Intervention processes 2.2 Implemented interventions3. Key achievements 3.1 Changes in forage biomass and quality Steep grazing lands: Before (left) and after intervention (right) Frequency of forage harvest: Shifted from one harvest to three harvests in September, January and June per year. Bottomlands: Before (left) and after interventions (right) 3.3 Changes in forage utilization: Sheep fattening and innovation uptake 60000 4000 3500 Total fattened sheep 50000 3000 Fattened sheep (number/year) Beneficiaries (number/yr) Total fattened sheep sold 40000 2500 30000 2000 1500 20000 1000 10000 500 0 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Year Year 3.4 Improved forage uptake following demonstration Watershed continuum Demonstration Uptake Beneficiary households area (ha) (ha) (number/district) 21 Steep grazing lands and 26 2,981 6,798 stabilized gullies Irrigated sites: After intervention 18 Before intervention Bottomlands 69 5,739 13,088 After intervention Irrigated sites 0.12 850 3,575 Biomass (ton dm/ha) 15 12 9 4. Lessons learned 6 • Linking improved forage production with market oriented commodities helps smallholder farmers to shift in livestock composition and generate better income following the market signals. 3 • Improved forage productivity generates immediate household income under extreme rainfall variability. 0 • Innovation uptake has been enhanced through demonstration and participation of actors. Steeplands Bottomlands Irrigated sites • Improved forage production is resilient to extreme variability in rainfall pattern. Watershed continuum • Managing the frequency and intensity of grazing using the concepts of forage starting position (Wo) is critically impor- tant for health forage re-growth in moisture stressed areas.