Ethiopia: Greenery to Reap Wild Foods

These days, the globe is hard of environmental degradation and about to stage catastrophes due to over exploitation of natural resources. As the law of nature producers (plants) are kingdoms that change the ultimate energy sourced from the sun to various energies sustaining life with the interconnection of both producers and consumers.

However, the rapid increasing of population and industrialization appeared to be the potential hazard tempting existence threatening the ecosystem. The result is manifested through, drought, erratic rain fall, tsunami, tornado that in turn impacted the day to day lives of many, particularly, citizens of developing nations.

Ethiopia is a classic example of how severe degradation of ecosystems and productive agricultural lands and poor utilization of water resources increase poverty, food insecurity, loss of biodiversity, and even conflict for ages.

Ethiopians have been exposed to food insecurity, undernourishment, poor dietary diversity and inefficient food system and parts of the country remain prone to famine and drought.

Nonetheless, Ethiopia is endowed with a large variety of plant and animal species. The ecological regions of Ethiopia are characterized by a great biodiversity of numerous species of plants. The flora of Ethiopia consists of many types of vegetation, flowers, and plants.

To avert these, there had been initiatives to incorporate environmental issues in multiple sectors to promote sustainable development. The initiatives place high priority on planting trees, and afforesting degraded lands that had been cleared for fuel consumption, household usage and for increasing demands of plots of lands. In precise terms, there had not been due concern in the integration of environmental issues with the plantations of edibles and wild fruits.

The environmental issues were first introduced during the reign of Menelik as the overexploitation of resources for fuel consumption. The scarcity was about to persuade statesmen to shift the capital some 50 kilometers down south. Eventually, the introduction of exotic trees like eucalyptus addressed the very quest of the time.

From then onwards the country has been put in place the issue of environment in a bid to tackle recurrent drought and to at least ensure food security assuring the seasonal cloud economy.

Assuming power about two years ago, the administration of Dr. Abiy Ahmed has come up with a campaign Green Legacy, for a greener and cleaner Ethiopia, is a national go green campaign, endeavoring to raise the public's awareness about Ethiopia's frightening environmental degradation and, educate society on the importance of adapting green behavior.

Green Legacy is an ambitious undertaking to become a green society by planting various types of eco-friendly seedling to combat environmental degradation and, a national platform that will be used for various societal green activities.

Under Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed Administration, Ethiopia invited the society to be actively involved in handling of environmental problems. The Green Legacy campaign is Ethiopia's green environment movement to support national green environmental goals as such, Ethiopia will determinedly aimed to plant 200 million seedlings across Ethiopia in one-day on the preceding year.

Since recently, besides the agenda of green development and environmental conservation, as the adversaries resulted from poor food system mount from time to time, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) along with the determination of development partners is vigorously working to up the country's food system with new thoughts including the exploitation of wild food potentials the country endowed in abundance.

Keeping the balance between producers and consumers and nurturing environ mental issues as a key component in the effort towards maintaining a healthier planet seems to be the first set of question as one thinking of planting a tree and investing in the blue economy.

One also conjures up that the plantation, afforestation and reforestation is assisting the agriculture sector by producing wild fruits and adding the yield of smallholders and thereby reducing food insecure people as he or she finds ways to fill gaps in the subsistent production.

Wild-food consumption is still very ommon in rural areas of Ethiopia, particularly with children. Among the most common wild plant fruits consumed by children are, for example, fruits from Ficus spp, Carissa edulis and Rosa Abyssinica plant species.

Though wild fruits assist the food system of rural children, yet there is very less done to incorporate in the government's sectorial policy and much to be done a head to exploit the abundant wild fruits for personal consumption and industrial inputs. Studies on the sector tell that for many years, the importance of wild plants in subsistence agriculture in the developing world as a food supplement and as a means of survival during times of drought and famine has been overlooked.

Generally, the consumption of such so-called 'wild-food' has been and still is being under-estimated. This may very well be the case for Ethiopia, a so-called 'biodiversity hot-spot' and known as a center of origin for a significant number of food plants according to Bell, 1995.

As to another paper by Abebe and Ayehu, 1993 rural people of Ethiopia are endowed with a deep knowledge concerning the use of wild plants. This is particularly true for the use of medicinal plants but also for wild plants some of which are consumed at times of drought, war and other hardship. Elders and other knowledgeable community members are the key sources or 'reservoirs' of plant lore.

The consumption of wild plants seems more common and widespread in food insecure areas where a wide range of species are consumed. The linkage has given rise to the notion of 'famine-foods', plants consumed only at times of food stress and therefore an indicator of famine conditions.

Local people know about the importance and the contribution of wild plants to their daily diet as well as being aware of possible health hazards such as stomach irritation occasionally occurring after consumption of certain wild plants.

However, be it as it may, tree plantation, if integrated with the production and utilization of wild fruits, needless to say, it will contribute a lot to address food insecurity besides being the cardinal point of sustaining environment and eco system.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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