11 September 2016

Ethiopia: Environmental Rehabilitation to Improve Livelihood of Farmers

In different parts of the country, members of societies are developing the tendency of restoring their environment following the commitment the Ethiopian government has been demonstrating in implementing climate resilient green economic growth strategy.

Because of the growing awareness of the necessity of rehabilitating an environment, natural resources, water and the like, the young, different cooperative unions and other members of the societies in Oromia State are carrying out activities that can restore areas of land to their original state after series of damages to them. Farmers are also benefiting from the outcome of the rehabilitation process.

For several years, the human being has been deteriorating the environment through polluting resources such as air, water and soil. Without realizing the damaging consequences, man misused the environment and destructed the ecosystems that resulted the extinction of wildlife. The world is incurring incalculable loss as a result. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction defines environmental degradation as "The reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives, and needs. This happens when natural habitats are destroyed or natural resources are depleted, the environment is degraded."

Researches also indicate that climate change has been causing the deaths of nearly 400,000 people and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion in a year. They also estimate that the world's least developed countries will be forced to suffer the losses of 11 percent of their GDP by 2030. Though there is a growing tendency to recognize the effects of the climate change these days, some nations seem to view the situation as a long-term problem.

In Ethiopia, the attempts undertaken to control this problem include environmental protection and environmental resources management. The society has continued benefiting from the restored environment in group and individually. Fore instance, farmers in Gemechis district, West Harerge have begun enjoying the fruits of rehabilitating their environment. Through the afforestation campaign in the district, they invested a lot in the disrupted areas and restored them in the original state. One of the farmers said that they are improving their livelihood by improving their environment. "Unlike the previous days, now we have got better environment; we are enjoying fresh air and clean water; our cattle have got enough water and grasses. Our production and productivity are increasing and our livelihood is also improving," he added.

Abdella Hussein, Administrator of Gemechis district, said, "Before several years, the environment was highly deteriorated due to mismanagement by the dwellers. They destroyed trees that resulted in entire destruction on the environment. But this generation is environmentally aware and has been working tirelessly to restore it. These days, the farmers are benefiting in every walks of life. Working in unions to restore the degraded lands has brought considerable outcomes as well. The farmers, taking initiative on their own, have been planting trees and caring for their environment diligently to renew it."

According to Abdella, the environment has not only been restored for the well-being of the society but also it became a home for wild animals.

Mehammed Ahemed, representative of forest development, conservation in the Harerge Zone, said, "Since the forest and environment in the area has been well rehabilitated, the number of wild animals abiding in the forest is increasing. There are wild animals that are endemic to Ethiopia. We are also generating income from tourists who like gunning down the wild animals since they usually pay up to 300,000 Birr to kill an animal."

Furthermore, in Bora district, East Shewa Zone, the act of environmental rehabilitation has brought considerable fruits. Following the afforestation and rehabilitation carried out in 2010 in the district, spring water from under ground began flourishing in 2013. The residents also said that their livelihood has been improving since the environment has been restored in several ways.

Zone environmental conservation team leader Gebre Bodena said, "We have been conducting several scaling up activities in our environment following the rehabilitation. Natural resources management and agricultural activities are carried out in a manner they can increase the benefits of our society."

Oromia Farming and Natural Resources Bureau Head with the Rank of Deputy Chief and Enterprise Board Chairperson Teferi Tiyaro said that the conservation of natural resources has dual purposes: rehabilitating the environment and then ensuring the benefits of the society. "After successfully restoring the areas, irrigation activities, animal husbandry and bee keeping business that improve the livelihood of the farmers have been expanded in the locality," he added.

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