Trilateral Resilience Enhancement in the Ethiopian Lowlands (TREE)
Title: Trilateral Resilience Enhancement in the Ethiopian Lowlands (TREE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
Overall term: 2016 to 2021
More than 40 per cent of the population of Ethiopia’s Afar regional state is reliant on food aid due to recent droughts. Vegetation cover, which used to provide food, income and fuel while stabilising the soil, has been critically compromised in the region, and is under significant pressure due to a growing population of 2.6 per cent per annum. The Afar Region is hot and dry, with daytime temperatures of up to 48°C and annual rainfalls between 0 and 700 mm. As a result, just 7 per cent of the region’s area is viable for agriculture. Farming and small-scale irrigation are practiced where enough water is available, usually in dry valleys or along river banks. The livelihood system is based on livestock with mixed herds of camels, cattle, sheep and goats. Failed experiments with new plants and overgrazing have unwittingly introduced invasive plants that thrive on flash flooding, drive back other species and take over large areas of rangeland. Hierarchical clan structures, which traditionally manage communal resources and agro-pastoral irrigation systems, are under increasing stress due to decreasing productivity as the soil degrades and increasing immigration through other pastoral communities. Reforestation has been unable to make up for the reduction in tree stocks. Local nurseries do not have the expertise to produce planting material already adapted to the ecological conditions. Moreover, community members have little or no knowledge about the cultivation and productive management of fruit trees. Until recently, people have relied on natural regeneration, and so they had no need to know how to plant or care for trees and bushes.
The programme has increased the quantity and quality of multi-purpose and fruit trees that are planted and cared for by pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the Afar Region.
The Trilateral Resilience Enhancement in the Ethiopian Lowlands (TREE) project is supporting the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s strong interest in expanding tree and shrub production. It is a trilateral partnership between the Governments of Ethiopia, Israel and Germany and an integrated part of the Strengthening Drought Resilience in Arid and Semi-Arid Lowlands Programme (SDR-ASAL). Project activities are targeting a population of approximately 350,000 people, of which, direct beneficiaries are 400 women and men. TREE implements three major activities:
Equip and expand two existing tree nurseries in Afambo and Dubti Districts to produce multi-purpose and fruit trees. Equip the nursery of Gewane Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training College (ATVET) to become a knowledge hub.
Raise awareness and train community members in planting and caring for multi-purpose and fruit trees, together with water and soil conservation measures from other projects of the SDR-ASAL. Long-term, the establishment of fruit value chains is envisaged, from which women in particular are targeted to benefit.
Train nursery staff and agricultural extension services in planting multi-purpose and fruit trees and ensure that the new knowledge is institutionalised and shared.
As of March 2019, more than 42,000 multi-purpose tree seedlings and 16,000 Elephant grass cuttings have been produced. Most of this planting material has been planted in dry valleys under rehabilitation through water spreading weirs. During several practical trainings especially with Israeli experts, 47 governmental and nursery staff learned specific up-to-date activities like pruning or the multiplication of date palms. In other trainings, the first group of 40 agro-pastoralists learned how to plant and take care of trees.