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Sustainable water and pasture management to alleviate the plight of Ethiopian pastoralists.

Drought, fodder scarcity and conflicts over natural resources make life difficult for pastoralists in southern Ethiopia. The SDC has taken various measures to improve their food security and their resilience to crisis situations, ranging from the rehabilitation of pastureland and water points to the introduction of land use plans and the diversification of income sources for women.

Obbo Dhoketa Gadhafo, a pastoralist from the Borana zone in southern Ethiopia, recalls: 20 to 40 years ago, this land was not like now. There was plenty of pasture and water, and the livestock were few in numbers. He remembers a time when animals and pastures thrived there: regular rains meant there was no shortage of milk, butter and other animal products. But, he says, things started to change around the end of the 1990s: climate change has made the rain scarcer and less reliable, droughts have increased, as have the number of livestock and the population density. As a result of all this, the pastureland has steadily deteriorated over the years, and now we can hardly find enough fodder for our cattle.

The situation described by Obbo Dhoketa Gadhafo is being faced by many other pastoralists in the country. Their pastureland, which covers over 60% of the surface area of Ethiopia, is severely affected by increasingly frequent droughts, conflicts between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers for the country's natural resources, and the degradation of pastureland whether through overgrazing, bush encroachment or soil erosion. The consequences are dramatic: a decrease in productivity and an increase in poverty, hunger and water shortages. In the Borana zone alone, more than 200,000 people have too little to eat. In some seasons, up to 80% of households are affected by famine.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:6ETHI
Date:Apr 23, 2019
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