In Ethiopia, our projects continue to go from strength to strength. Our latest achievements include the four community nurseries now established in Konso in the southwest, and a further twenty community nurseries in Dimtu, located in the centre of the country.
In 2011, 1,500,000 seedlings were distributed. From initial successful partnerships in the Gurage zone in western central Ethiopia, the Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union have become involved in projects with our partner organisations. This has included over 102,000 coffee farmers, processors and exporters becoming a part of the programme. This work expanded to involve an initial 250,000 community members involved in the planting of trees. The project then led to a commitment to implement systems to address issues of poverty, which has, in turn, improved productivity in a further three communities in Northern Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is a country that has been ravaged. Well known for its human disasters, the cycle of poverty is difficult to escape. As Ethiopia’s population continues to grow there continues to be further pressure made on already degraded land. After prolonged unsustainable approaches to land use, many issues persist. Land fertility and productivity have been severely affected. A desperate people, forced to farm even more intensively to survive, combined with many natural challenges such as droughts, soil type and topography, have meant that Ethiopia’s tragic plight continues.
The focus of projects has been to repair and rehabilitate damaged and degraded lands to help local communities and improve economic conditions. These projects have taken place in marginalized areas. The planting of multipurpose trees has been vitally important for the success of this initiative.
The trees provide essential yields: edible fruits, livestock forage and medicine, in addition to much-needed wood for fuel and building materials, whilst also improving the soil’s productivity. In these rural areas, it has been of the utmost importance that the farmers and community groups involved have felt ownership over the work to secure its success, sustainability and long-term future.
Our partner organisations’ establishment of four community nurseries in Konso has secured the distribution of approximately 260,000 seedlings each rainy season. In Gurage, the focus has been on training and education alongside ensuring seed production. Over 1,000,000 seedlings were produced, and in addition to this, organisations were involved in training individuals and groups in agroforestry, nursery management, sustainable farming and land use practices.
A similar project has taken place in Oromiya State where our partner organisations have helped local people, farmers and community groups establish twenty community nurseries. These seedlings, once ready, will provide trees for coffee, shade for local people, as well as providing animal fodder and wood for fuel.