Problem Addressed

Significant parts of Ethiopia are characterized by persistent food insecurity. While droughts and other disasters (such as flood) are significant triggers, more important are the factors which create and/or increase vulnerability to these shocks and which have undermined livelihoods. These factors include land degradation, limited household assets, low levels of farm technology, lack of employment opportunities and population pressure. Though the Ethiopian government emphasizes agricultural development through various interventions, the limited capacity of the government coupled with the magnitude of the food insecurity situation makes progress difficult.

In addition, climate change threatens Ethiopia’s population. A recent mapping of vulnerability and poverty in Africa identified Ethiopia as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change given its low adaptive capacity. The limited economic, institutional, and logistical capacity to mitigate and to adapt to climate change exacerbates the vulnerability of millions of people. A large part of the country is arid or semi-arid and is highly prone to desertification and drought. The country’s highland ecosystem is also becoming fragile and vulnerable, which is already under stress due to population pressure and land degradation. The impact ranges from recurrent drought and loss of biodiversity of rangeland, and of soil nutrients to catastrophic flood and declining livestock and food production.

Innovative Approach

ASE’s integrated approach to watershed management and water supply is innovative in that they focus on ensuring water is available for the community over the long term and is used sustainably for both household and agricultural use. They create their projects based on community demand and community knowledge, and they provide appropriate technology to ensure that communities can maintain their own facilities over the long term. ASE continuously trains the community on the projects which they implement, and they have successfully handed over water resource projects to local government and communities.

Program Solution

Agri Service Ethiopia (ASE) is committed to sound environmental management in program development and implementation. ASE has made sure that its strategy for strengthening agricultural production relies on agro-ecological farming practices that depend little on external inputs and use environmentally friendly methods, resulting in both economically profitable and sustainable agriculture.

Major intervention areas including household food security improvement, value chain development, climate change adaptation and mitigation (watershed management, small scale irrigation development, etc.). These are embedded in the five year growth and transformation plan of the country. This situation creates a favorable condition for smooth implementation of planned activities and increases the likelihood of sustainability of project benefits. Currently, ASE operates in 13 Woredas (districts) spread across five national regional states (Oromia, SNNPR, Amhara, Gambela and Benishangul Gumuz).

ASE’s integrated approach to water supply management and climate change adaptation includes a number of related activities. ASE encourages farmers to raise and plant multi-purpose trees; promotes watershed management (conservation of natural resources and rehabilitation of degraded areas, etc.); promotes irrigation agriculture and water harvesting, strengthens drought and flood early warning systems, and builds capacity on climate change issues.