12 June 2018

Ethiopia: Nation's Effort Towards Greenery Program

The fact that biology tells us is life is the result of mutual existence. Nothing is capable to stand alone. Even human being that has the ultimate power to control the nature cannot live without the existence of plants and animals for life is the result of interdependence. Cognizant of this, Ethiopia has been implementing various greenery programs that would encourage local and global effort towards conserving environment.

Accordingly, the country is striving to increase the gain from forestry from the current four to eight percent of the national GDP by 2020. Similarly, it is also working to upgrade forest coverage from 15.5 to 20 percent within similar period. Therefore, greenery programs are designed and under implementation in the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), REDD plus and the Provision of Adequate Tree Seed Portfolios (PATSPO) projects.

According to Kebede Yimam, State Minister of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEFCC), the greenry programs are bearing fruits as the country's forest coverage increased from three to 15 percent over the past two decades. Currently, the ministry is exerting efforts to implement PATSPO project to enhance forest landscape restoration and to realize green economy, he added. The project will stay for four years and lead by the ministry in collaboration with Centre for Research in Agro Forestry (CRAF).

Recently a workshop was organized by the ministry in collaboration with CRAF to discuss on the objectives and current status of the project. On the occasion, State Minister Kebede said that the project would help the country to realize greenery through providing quality tree seed, knowledge and capacity building support. It would help to improve the traditional tree seed collection, storage and distribution mechanism. ICRAF Country Representative and PATSPO's Project Country Director Dr. Kiros Meles believed that the commencement of the project is critical to advance country's forestry in quality tree seed collection and seed management system that is believed to enable Ethiopia to achieve its plan of restoring 22 million hectare land forest by 2030.

The four-year long project program mainly intended for reducing land degradation, climate change and agricultural land expansion impacts that happen due to the increasing number of population has been considered to play significant roles. The project implementers and various stakeholders have reached common understanding to utilize the international forestation experience in line with nation's indigenous knowledge.

The project would help the country to develop the capacity of seed providing institutions through upgrading the system and communication among stakeholders, believed Dr. Abayneh Derero, Forestry Expert at MEFCC. As to him, the establishment of the project would help to modernize the country's informal tree seed providing system which lacks scientific process to formal level by resolving financial and knowledge constraints. It is also significant to achieve the national greenery program through providing quality tree seed in line with prioritization system which includes the climate, soil and seed type and other factors that are critical scientific measurements for healthy growth of a plant, he said.

The project which has been implemented by the financial support from Norwegian Government and lead by the ICRAF in collaboration with the MEFCC was started in 2017 and it will stay until 2020. The concrete outputs that are expected when the project is phase out are efficient delivery system, modernized tree seed and seedling knowledge and information system, conservation and breeding and capacity building to the national tree seed development. The right tree to the right place is the heart of the plan for proper cultivation system. This is significant to the forestation activity of the country.

For nations like Ethiopia where millions are usually suffering from drought caused by poor environment conservation, exerting huge effort to increase forest coverage is a must to alleviate the problem. Therefore, implementing all programs through coordinated participation of stakeholders is expected from the ministry. Increasing the public awareness on collecting seed and cultivating plants is critical to this end. It is also significant to implement the state-of-the-art technologies for proper implementation of greenery programs.

And the PATSPO project is hope flickering in this regard. One of the leading organizations (ICRAF) has also worldwide experiences in forestry with latest technologies and it has also pledged to provide the technologies to the local tree seed providing companies. The promises seem hopeful to the country, but needs a strong commitment of stakeholders for lasting solutions.

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