Climate Change / Drought / East Africa / Ethiopia / Food Security / Livestock

Ethiopia: When the rains don’t come on time

A "pay it forward" scheme is restocking herds and flocks

A "pay it forward" scheme is restocking herds and flocks - Photo: Gijs van ‘t Klooster/FAO

Rain rules the lives and wellbeing of rural people in most developing countries: it determines whether they will have enough to eat, be able to provide basic necessities and earn a living, but climate change has made rainfall more erratic in many parts of the world.

“What is scary is how fast things have been changing in the last 20 years,” said Abba Ayalew Tegene, 83, a farmer in northern Ethiopia quoted in a report released on Earth Day, 22 April, by development agency Oxfam, which found that rainfall patterns were often changing faster than people could adapt.

“We used to be able to grow all kinds of crops, but when the rain started becoming short and unpredictable, we switched to potato that grows fast with less rain … This year, the rain was even shorter and the land refused to give us even potato – what are we to do?”

Another study, by US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), assessed the vulnerability to climate change of Ethiopian farmers by calculating their adaptive capacity and creating vulnerability indices, and then comparing the indices across regions. Afar and Tigray in the north, and Somali and Oromia in the south, were more vulnerable to climate change than the rest of the country’s nine regions.

Read more (IRIN)

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