29 May 2018

Ethiopia: First Modern Water Hyacinth Harvester Arrived At Lake Tana

The first modern water hyacinth harvester (Aquatic Weed Harvester Model H5-200) bought by the Global Coalition for Lake Tana Restoration (GCLTR) arrived Bahirdar Saturday afternoon. A large gathering of local residents and government officials have warmly welcomed the arrival. GCLTR is leading efforts to save Ethiopia's largest lake from the aggressive water hyacinth currently threatening the existence of the lake.

The machine came with accessories and spare parts to ensure proper functioning without issues. According to a statement sent to Addis Standard by GCLTR, the total cost of the machine including its accessories and spare parts was $67,290 USD. "The purchase is mainly covered from the fundraising from Ethiopians living in Atlanta and Israel."

On the welcoming event, Prof Martha Dawit, Deputy Chair of GCLTR, handed over the machine to the Amhara Regional Environmental Authority. The Amhara Regional Environmental Authority, on it's part, has facilitated the duty free importation of the machine with a support from Belesa Logistics, Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Enterprise and Tikur Abay Transport PLC - by waiving all shipment costs from Canada port to Bahirdar.

"Training machine operators was commenced on Sunday. Prof Martha is giving the training on the operation and maintence of the machine. The machine will start harvesting as soon as the training is concluded in the next couple of days," the statement said.

Furthermore, GCLTR is currently finalizing paperwork to ship its second machine, this time with a modern conveyer that helps unload the weed to the shore, according to Dr Solomon Kibret, Chair of GCLTR. It expected to arrive Ethiopia in the coming months. "In addition to purchasing these harvesting machines, GCLTR is in a process to order an air boat that easily glides over shallow areas of the lake where the weed forms thick mats that are not inconvenient for standard boats," GCLTR said, adding the airboat could be appropriate for shallow parts along the shores and useful for other purposes too such as biological control or herbicide application if the use of chemical solutions implemented in the near future.

It is to be recalled that GCLTR collected over 4 million birr from Ethiopians living Washington DC and adjacent areas in its recent fundraising in March 2017. GCLTR is also supporting biological control approach in collaboration with Bahir Dar University. An implementation strategic document is currently under development. AS

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