South Eastern Dry Areas Project
Southeastern Dry Areas Support Project
The south-eastern zones are semi-arid, with poor soil fertility, low agricultural potential and a high incidence of acute poverty. Farmers in the project area typically cultivate maize, sorghum or millet. Livestock is the main source of income in the driest areas. The greatest challenge to crop cultivation is the scarcity of water. Droughts in the 1980s and early 1990s considerably depleted livestock numbers and have made livelihoods more precarious.
Range and cropland productivity was declining, largely because of livestock grazing pressure, leaving the population increasingly vulnerable to drought and other natural disasters. Traditional farming practices contribute to land degradation and are ultimately unsustainable.
Nearly half of rural households in the area were headed by women, mainly because unemployment was high and men are forced to migrate in search of work. These are the poorest households and they were the main target group for the project.
The project’s goal was to provide a greater degree of household food security and improve incomes by helping stabilize and improve productivity and the management of natural resources in the project area. Many of the lessons learned from the Smallholder Dry Areas Resource Management Project shaped the project’s design, which placed particular importance on building smallholder farmers’ resilience to environmental stress. Project activities included:
- strengthening the capacity of technical agencies to support the needs of farmers, particularly those in dry areas
- assisting in re-establishing livestock herds
- providing funds and training to build the capacity of communities to fully participate in the development planning and management of their natural resources
- strengthening the local governance framework to provide a means for more effective decision-making, funding and management of interventions at community level
- providing access to credit for rural enterprises
13 September 1995
1995 - 2005
Total Project Cost
US$ 20.3 million
US$ 11.16 million
Netherlands US$ 6 million
Beneficiaries US$ 2.18 million