08.08.2018

Farming effectively despite heat and drought

GIZ advises farmers in Ethiopia on how to adapt to drought and climate change. 120,000 are already benefiting.

Farmers in Germany are facing unusually dry weather conditions, but the lack of precipitation and parched soils are an even greater problem for farmers and herders in the lowlands of Ethiopia. And when rain returns, floods cause serious damage. With the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, people have adapted their cultivation methods to climate change.

The federal enterprise is working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in various projects and programmes in Ethiopia to reduce the impacts of drought and adapt agriculture to climate change.

For example, they have joined forces with Gifti Zehara Arba Isse, a 40-year-old farmer responsible for a family of 12. Together with the roughly 3,000 inhabitants of Teaboy, the matriarch has helped put the Eastern Ethiopian village back on its own two feet. The community virtually no longer relies on emergency assistance and food aid. Important strategies for this included the dry stone walls and river weirs the village community built with the assistance of GIZ and its partners. They protect against devastating floods from the highlands and route the precious water to low-lying plains, where it is stored in the soil for cultivation and droughts. 

Through water and soil treatment 3,500 hectares of formerly arid soils can once again be used as pasture land and cropland. The yields from this land are almost three times the Ethiopian average. 

‘The farmers now produce enough food themselves to enable their families to consume a balanced diet of crops and milk,’ says Zehara. 

Together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDP) and the Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation, GIZ has improved access to water and animal feed in the lowlands of Afar and Somali, Ethiopia for roughly 120,000 livestock breeders.