Issue 24 – December 2013

IFAD's strategy to address Climate Change and Natural Resources Management



Cutting and burning wood and forest
© Dominique Magada

Sustainable environment and natural resource management (ENRM) lies at the heart of delivering poverty reduction for poor rural people. The rural poor are in the front line of climate change impacts. The ecosystems and biodiversity on which they rely are increasingly degraded. Their access to suitable agricultural land is declining in both quantity and quality. Their forest resources are increasingly restricted and degraded. They produce on typically marginal rainfed land with increased water scarcity. Energy and agricultural input prices are on a rising long-term trend; and declining fish and marine resources threaten essential sources of income and nutrition.

Environmentally damaging agricultural practices are a major driver of ENRM challenges. Furthermore, weak governance, damaging policies and changing consumption patterns also lie at the heart of this environmental degradation. Poor rural people, including smallholders, are often disempowered and thus unable to sustainably manage natural resources. A lack of clear land access and tenure rights removes incentives to maintain natural assets; distorting trade policies and fossil-fuel and other subsidies are key drivers; and the global population is growing rapidly. Moreover, there is increasing pressure on land, with a switch to meat diets (less efficient per calorie) and increasing use of land for biofuel rather than food production.



Depleted soil as a result of excessive burning in rural Africa
© Dominique Magada

Climate variability and change are expected to compromise agricultural production and food security severely in many African countries. In East and Southern Africa (ESA), the effects of climate change will be compounded by the region’s high poverty levels, weak infrastructure, poor natural resources management, and dependence on rainfed agriculture. As a result of climate change, the region could see net reductions of more than 10 per cent in the production of maize and other major crops, such as sorghum, millet, sugar cane and wheat. While commercial livestock activities may marginally improve, as the result of increased rainfall, traditional communal livestock activities may be disadvantaged because of increased erosion and the incursion of woody weeds in some areas.

IFAD’s response

IFAD works with governments and communities in the region, to introduce appropriate natural resource management measures and adaptive technologies that reduce the vulnerability of poor rural communities to climate variability and longer-term climate change. Projects in Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands are introducing simple water and land management techniques that prevent damage to soils from flooding and help conserve water. A main focus is restoring ecosystems and their services as a means of bolstering the resilience of agricultural livelihoods.

Across the region and beyond, IFAD is also pioneering and testing payment for environmental services, income diversification and more sustainable and profitable management systems. These promise to become a major factor in encouraging rural communities to protect the resources they depend on and to help them become active players in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

To further ensure IFAD’s response to the climate change challenge, the organisation launched the Adaptation for Smallholders Agriculture Programme (ASAP) in 2012. ASAP is a granting mechanism, targeted specifically at scaling up and integrating climate change adaptation in 'regular' IFAD smallholder development programmes, through climate resilient interventions in agriculture, rural infrastructure and management of the natural resource base. ASAP is driven by IFAD’s existing commitment, set out in IFAD‘s Climate Change Strategy (2010) and the Environment and Natural Resource Management Policy, which help ensure that IFAD remains a cutting-edge development agency by integrating climate change issues throughout operations and programmes.

Last month, IFAD won the 2013 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities award, which recognizes the organization’s innovative work in using climate finance to support climate change adaptation activities that deliver social and economic benefits to smallholder farmers. “We welcome the recognition this award brings IFAD and the donors supporting ASAP,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD. “But far more important is the opportunity it creates for us to help raise the profile of smallholder farmers around the issue of climate change.”

Through its Momentum for Change initiative, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat provides a public platform to highlight broad-ranging climate change actions that are already achieving impacts on the ground, in addressing both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental issues.

ASAP has a “multi-benefit’’ approach which implies building climate resilience through managing competing land-use systems at the landscape level while at the same time reducing poverty, enhancing biodiversity, increasing yields, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Examples include balanced-input agriculture, sustainable land management (SLM), conservation agriculture, agroforestry, landscape approaches, watershed management, integrated pest management, integrated plant nutrient management, organic agriculture, rangeland management, build/retrofit rural infrastructure to cope with climate-related risks and more broadly integrated food-energy systems.

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Revitalising the biodiversity of Lake Tana watershed in the Amhara region of Ethiopia

With the largest cattle in the whole of Africa and a growing population soon exceeding 90 million people, free grazing and pasture is becoming a serious issue in Ethiopia. Land is more and more degraded. The soil is depleted of its nutrients and cannot longer regenerate itself, while the amazing biodiversity found in the country is seriously threatened. 

To remedy this problem, as well as introduce measures to mitigate the effect of climate change, IFAD and the Ethiopian Government have put in place the Community Based Integrated Natural Resources Management Project to combat land degradation. The project is being implemented in 27 woredas, or administrative districts, of the Lake Tana Watershed, the area drained by Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, and connected rivers. The seven-year project, which started in March 2010, is bringing a total investment of US$25.4 million to the region, of which IFAD is contributing US$13 million and the global Environment Facility US$4.4 million.

Protecting natural resources and improving local ecosystems

The project’s main objective is to improve natural resources in the watershed through better management of pasture and forage production systems, the development of Community forests, the enhancement of bio-diversity and ecosystem services, the introduction of alternative energy sources, the creation of income generating activities not threatening to the environment, as well as the strengthening of land registration and certification. The project is implemented in partnership with a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations specialised in the various sectors.

After two years, the project is already showing results particularly in the management of pasture and forage production systems in the various micro-watersheds surrounding Lake Tana. By closing some areas to grazing, and creating systems of water trenches to prevent soil erosion and regenerate the land, as well as planting grass and forage, major improvements are being made in revitalising the area’s biodiversity.



Barren and eroded land before the project started
© Dominique Magada

In the Kernwary micro-watershed in the Dangela Zuria Wodera, south-east of the regional capital Bahar Dar, out of a total area of 600 hectares (ha) the community has selected about 120 ha of communal land, located on a gentle slope, to be closed to grazing. On that land, a system of terraced water trenches has been built to prevent soil erosion as well as provide water to the downstream village and forage for the cattle. The system, known as Cut and Carry system, integrates soil and water conservation with the production of forage and the preservation of biodiversity. As the top trenches are filling up with water collected from the rain and other sources, the water gently trickles down through the trenches system to create a stream of fresh and clean water downstream. At the same time, the trenches prevent soil erosion. “The trenches percolate the water down and after a couple of years, it can be used by villagers for irrigation,” explained Mulugeta Dershe, the CBIREMP coordinator for the Dangela Zuria Woreda. “Before the community built this system the area was completely barren. It was all rock and stone. Nothing grew, not even grass, nothing.” In just over a year, the change is impressive: the area is covered with different bushes and grass, displaying a biodiversity that had been forgotten in that community.

The benefit of Knowledge Sharing



Workneh Andarge, the project agro-forestry expert, showing the improved biodiversity
© Dominique Magada

To achieve such results in a short time, people in the project including coordinators as well as the local community members worked hard towards it. “At first, the local community showed resistance towards closing the area for grazing. They said their livestock needed pasture and could not comprehend why the closure of the area would improve the situation,” explained Workneh Andarge, the project agro-forestry expert. As designed in the project, local community members went on a knowledge sharing visit to East Amhara and Tigray, to see similar schemes in other regions. “The trip was an eye opener for them, suddenly they could see the results and the benefits of limiting grazing areas,” said Mulugeta. “Their counterparts in Tigray, a dry and stoney region in Northern Ethiopia, told them that they were sitting on gold and not stone like in Tigray. And that they should make the most of the abundant resources they had thanks to Lake Tana,” explained Mulugeta. As soon as the community members returned home, they agreed on the communal area to close to put in place the cut and carry system. They all respected the agreement, no livestock was taken there to graze, and they started building the trenches. A year later, they have enough grass for forage as well as to thatch the roof of their respective houses. They share the grass among community members.



Bitenesh cutting forage for her cows
© Dominique Magada

Bitenesh is one of the beneficiaries of the new scheme. She is a young single mother, raising her two year old child with the help of her mother after her recent divorce. We spoke to her while she was busy cutting grass for her house and her animals.  She goes to the closed area almost every morning to cut grass and spends her afternoon doing household duties. She owns three cows, four goats and one donkey. “Before we had no grass on our community land, it was all rock. We had to buy grass from traders to feed our cattle, and it was very expensive,” she explained. “Now our animals are well fed and healthier.” She said she was paying as much as 50 Ethiopian birr (US$2.7) for a single bundle, which represents a tenth of an employee’s income outside the capital city, Addis Ababa. At the start, the community members with no livestock were also included in the grass sharing agreement; however this has now changed as they were selling the grass outside when the community needed it.


Income-generating activities for the poorest members



New beehives to enhance biodiversity
© Dominique Magada

To help its poorest members, mainly the unemployed youth and landless women, the community has agreed on a number of income generating activities to support them in improving their livelihood. Beekeeping was chosen as one of the activities as it has the added advantage of promoting the biodiversity of the area. The community purchased 45 beehives and formed a management group to run the activity. Unfortunately, they lost half of the bee colonies due to the use of pesticide in the region. “The chemical sprays on crops are destroying the bees,” said Workneh, “it’s a problem for the whole of the Amhara region, not only this Woreda. The regional authorities have to enact a regulation on the use of pesticide otherwise we will lose all our bees.” Ethiopia is Africa’s largest honey producer and is known for its delicate honey due to the country’s still unique biodiversity. In the meantime, the local community have identified additional income generating activities such as animal fattening as part of their plans for this coming Ethiopian New Year, which started on 11 September.

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Biogas as an answer to reducing the cutting and burning of wood in Ethiopia

Biogas is becoming increasingly more popular as a form of energy to power rural communities in Africa who live far away from the electricity grid. In rural Ethiopia, the introduction of domestic biogas is quickly changing the life of poor farmers who have been living in the dark for centuries, relying mainly on the burning of wood to provide heat and light in their house. With a technology specifically designed for the needs of rural households, IFAD is also contributing to improving their livelihoods. 



Manure from the biogas system
© Dominique Magada

IFAD’s biogas activities are part of a larger scheme, the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP), which aims at supporting national programmes on domestic biogas in six African countries, namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal and Burkina Faso. It is implemented by the Dutch Non-Governmental Organization, SNV, in partnership with the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (HIVOS) also based in the Netherlands. ABPP aims at constructing 70,000 domestic biogas plants in these six countries by the end of 2013. IFAD contributes to the partnership through the development projects it supports, particularly in Ethiopia.

In the country’s Lake Tana watershed area, IFAD is working with ABPP through the Community Based Integrated Natural Resources Management Project, started in March 2010 for a seven year duration, and whose objective is to combat land degradation through the introduction of natural resource conservation measures. One of the project’s main components is the implementation of a Community Based Integrated Watershed Management which includes the improvement of pasture management and forage production systems, the development of community forests and the strengthening of soil and water conservation practices to enhance biodiversity.



A fixed biogas plant
© Dominique Magada

Domestic biogas was introduced as one of the alternative energy sources to reduce the burning of wood and consequent gas emissions. However, the technology was so well received by the local communities that demand has far exceeded initial forecasts, and by September 2013, a total of 501 biogas plants had been implemented compared to an initial plan of 174 plants in the 27 Woredas, or administrative districts, covered by the Project.  “The biogas scheme is very popular, and we keep having requests from more households,” explained Workneh Andarge, the project’s agroforestry expert and the initiator of the scheme within the project. “At first, such a scheme was not included in the project, but we suggested it as a way to reduce wood cutting and improve forestry management. In addition, it contributes to cutting down greenhouse gases emissions.”



Light in the house
© Dominique Magada

Guebre Medehim, a 16 year-old boy from the Kernwary micro watershed in the Dangela Zuria Woreda, south east of Bahar Dar, the regional capital of the Amhara region, took us on a tour of his house while his mother was out working. He proudly showed us the new biogas plant which was implemented about six months before. The plant produces biogas mainly from manure as well as human waste. The manure is collected at night, when the cows are in their shed next to the house, and stored in a small basin linked to the plant through a narrow trench. While for human waste, a new concrete latrine was built and is directly connected to the biogas plant. The gas is used to power two light bulbs as well as a small cooker inside the house. “It’s a great advantage to have the gas. Now we can see; we are no longer in the dark. We have light in our house, and my sister and I can study,” said Guebre Medehim who explained that he was preparing to go to university. The cooker is used mainly to prepare coffee or to cook vegetables and meat. For injera, the staple food in Ethiopia, the family still has to use a wood oven, as a larger and more powerful cooker is required. It is estimated that in rural Ethiopia, half of the domestic energy consumption is used for cooking injera. Studies are currently under way on the feasibility of a low cost biogas-powered injera cooker. 

Another benefit of the household biogas plant for Guebre’s family, is the new latrine which substantially improves the hygiene conditions in his house, as previously the family was using the courtyard around the house as an open latrine. For now, it is no more than a concrete hole in the ground, but it is kept clean. The family is planning to build a shed around it, to increase privacy, as soon as the harvest is over and they have a little more time. In addition, the air inside the house is healthier, as they no longer have to breathe in the smoke from the wood fire. Although Guebre’s family of six children live in extremely rudimentary conditions, they are not among the poorest of the community, as they own 10 cows and have land to grow crops. 

To qualify for the scheme, a household needs to own at least six cows to be able to provide enough manure to power the plant. In addition, they need to contribute with their labour to build the basin, the well and the latrine pertaining to the plant. SNV, who designed the scheme, provides cash to buy the technology and equipment up to an amount of 5000 Ethiopian birr per household (US$275). The CBIReMP project provides the cement to build the biogas plant. “We contribute six quintals of cement as well as stone and sand as part of our project,” said Mulugeta Dershe, the project coordinator for the Dangela Zuria Woreda. Just like his colleagues in the other Woredas, he has been overwhelmed by the demand for biogas in the framework of the IFAD’s supported CBINReMP project.

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Rwanda: new user-friendly biogas system piloted under an IFAD project

As a low-cost integrated system providing alternative energy as well as organic manure, biogas can provide an answer to reducing gas emissions and improving soil fertility. 

Some innovative low-cost biogas systems are being implemented under the IFAD-supported Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP) in the Kirehe District in the south-east of the country. "Under this project, we are piloting a new biogas technology called “Flexibiogas” developed in Kenya which is well suited to small farmers with limited livestock," explained Antonio Rota, a technical expert at IFAD in Rome.



Flexibiogas digestor
© Dominique Magada

The new system includes a biodigester device made of industrial plastic sheets and pipes that are easy to install, use and maintain. The system is portable, which means that unlike the more conventional built-in system, farmers can take it to another house, or even resell it should they need to. Its cost is relatively low at US$500, representing half the price of the conventional system. It also has the added benefit of generating gas almost immediately, compared to conventional biogas systems that take a couple of months to start and include a fixed concrete digester with an underground piping system. They take about 60 kilogrammes (kg) of manure to produce 1,000 litres of gas, which is the daily amount consumed by a rural household. "The flexibiogas system works for farmers with only one or two cows, as it requires only 20 kg of manure to produce the same amount of gas as the conventional system," explained Rota. "That's why we are piloting it in the KWAMP project because it is linked with livestock." A total of 10 flexi-biogas systems have been piloted, since the end of 2012, and are currently being fine-tuned for a planned roll-out of 100 devices. 

Furthermore, with the introduction of biogas, the reduction in firewood use is estimated to amount to one tonne per person per year; substantially reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions such as methane and nitrous oxide. IFAD and the World Bank are currently studying the possibility of developing a carbon component to offset emissions and benefit from carbon credits.

An integrated system to protect the environment

By producing biogas with the cow's dung, farmers can have energy for their house as well as organic manure for their small plot to improve soil fertility and crop productivity. All the farmers who benefited from a biogas system were given a cow as part of the Pass-on-a-Cow scheme, supported by the KWAMP project. Under the scheme, they received a milking cow and had to pass on the first female calf born as a way of repayment, thus creating a solidarity chain or family of farmers who benefited from the first cow given. According to current plans, at the end of the pilot scheme, farmers will have to enter a cost-sharing mechanism for the purchase of the biogas system. However, before they can do so, a micro-finance system will have to be in place. This will allow them to borrow money, to be repaid in instalments, as the great majority of farmers cannot afford to purchase the technology as a lump sum.



Maria Goretti, owner of a flexibiogas system
© Dominique Magada

Maria Goretti Twagirumukisa is one of the farmers who chose a flexi-biogas kit to produce energy for her kitchen and house. She owns two cows; the first one was given to her by the government to thank her for having saved and raised a lost baby during the 1994 genocide. With the manure from her cows, she can produce enough energy to cook for about three hours per day. A double-hob gas cooker was provided as part of the biogas kit. "I am very happy with the biogas. It is very easy to use and it saves me time, as I don't need to collect wood anymore," she said. "I went to see a conventional system and thought it was too complicated to use for me, so I preferred this one." Biogas also has health benefits for women and children, as they no longer have to breathe in all the smoke produced by burning wood in their house. 





A biogas cooker
© Dominique Magada

As part of the system, some farmers also had access to a solar panel which can power a couple of LED lights inside their house, as well as a radio and phone charger. "We found that the two systems were complementary," explained Dominic Wanjihia, founder and Managing Director of Biogas International, the company which devised the system. "With biogas only, farmers tend to use all the gas to provide light in the house instead of cooking, and they go back to fetching wood to cook."  Together, the Flexibiogas system and the solar panel still cost less than a conventional biogas system, making them more attractive to farmers. And Pacifique Musabyimane, another farmer in the Kirehe District who was given a cow, benefited from both the biogas digester and the solar panel. With the dual system, she can cook for three hours as well as have light in her house at night. "With my solar panel, I also want to start providing phone charging services to people in the area," she said. With her entrepreneurial spirit, she has found unexpected ways to generate an income from her investment.

Interview with Dominic Wanjihia, the designer of a low cost portable biogas system (flexi biogas) which is being promoted in Kenya, and also scaled up to other countries including Rwanda, India and Mali. This project was supported through DFID and IFAD IMI (Innovative Mainstreaming Initiative) funding:


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Rwanda: Supporting Natural Resources Management through Community Innovation Centres

The Centre Communautaire d'Innovation (CCI), or Community Innovation Centres, were first introduced in Rwanda to provide technical and organisational support to small farmers, as part of an IFAD-supported pilot project the Support Project for the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PAPSTA).  The initiative became so successful that it was replicated and extended in 2010 under a new project, the Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP).Through the dissemination of information and skills among local communities, the CCIs facilitate the replication of agricultural innovations and the effective implementation of sustainable watershed management plans in the Kirehe District.

Before the centres opened, farmers in the district were living in relative isolation, far away from the capital Kigali and with very limited means of communication within their own sector. Since the KWAMP project started, three of these centres have opened. The CCI, which are already an innovation in themselves, introduced creative ways to help farmers get better organise to manage their natural resources.

Community competitions to tackle climate change issues



Environment sustainability plan from the Isangano village
© Dominique Magada

Community competitions, facilitated by a committee known as Inteko y’Imihigo, are one of the innovative practices implemented by the CCI. When a village or a community expresses a specific need in terms of natural resources management, they draft a written proposal and submit it to the CCI’s office for pre-screening. After a phase of pre-screening and support from the Centre in drafting a sound management plan, a competition is organized to select the Natural Resources Management Plans (NRMPs) that best meet the community’s collective interests. The plans presented are reviewed by an elected committee who decides on the award. Following the selection process, the awarded communities benefit from a grant to implement their plan. The grants are transferred to the village's dedicated bank account, with a view to creating better interactions between the local population and the surrounding micro-finance institutions. Furthermore, it is hoped that this model will encourage the development of an entrepreneurship culture at local level, whereby potential entrepreneurs come up with home grown solutions using banks’ money to solve problems.



The Nyarubuye Community Innovation Centre in Kirehe District, Rwanda
© Dominique Magada

The Isangano village, located on a steep hill in Nyamugali Sector sector of the Kirehe District, was one of the winners of a competition.  Because of its location, it was affected by serious erosion problems caused mainly by the deforestation of the area. After each deluge, waste residues were sliding down causing damage to crops and even houses.  The village committee led by Pascal MUDAHUNGA decided to react. With the support of their CCI, they presented a plan with their solution to solve the problem which included planting terraced hedges. The plan was selected as the winner of the competition and the village was awarded a prize of RWF 1.7 million (US$2,650).



Jean-Paul Kimazi, Manager of the Nyarubuye CCI, in the CCI's computer room
© Dominique Magada

"We put in place this system after we learnt about it through Procasur's Learning Route system. We wanted to support the communities in presenting a written plan with a structure to it, and be able to present it convincingly," explained Jean-Paul Kimazi, Manager of the Nyarubuye CCI. “The idea is to empower them to present their own project, defend it and apply for funding," he added. "They have to be able to convince a financial institution to support their project." To date, six competitions (two per CCI) were carried out with 34 successful natural resources management projects presented by the villages. Total funds allocated amounted to RWF 30,620,950 (US$47,845). Payment is usually made in three instalments of 50%-25%-25%. 

Support to set up cooperatives

The work of the CCIs does not stop there. They also support farmers in forming cooperatives for a selected commodity or value chain, and help them go through the administrative and legal process. In addition, they provide training in management and accountancy. "We try to show farmers the benefit of working together in a group rather than in isolation," explained Kimazi. "Where there is an interest, we help them set up a cooperative and legally register it."



Building trenches to combat erosion
© Dominique Magada

Beyond the cooperatives, which have a commercial function in terms of agricultural value-chains, the CCIs provide technological and information support to communities of farmers. They are well equipped with a computer room and a library to teach farmers about ICT, internet use as well as agricultural practices. The library has a number of technical publications available on modern agricultural techniques and best practices in local language. Explanatory drawings are included for illiterate farmers.

Furthermore, the CCIs are becoming social centres for farmers to gather and discuss problems. "We've recently subscribed to the main satellite channel DSTV. Now farmers come to watch the news as well as football games," explained Kimazi.  “Before that, they had very little knowledge of international news, now they feel part of the world." He added that the subscription was paid for by the income generated from the sale of services at the centre, such as photocopying or renting out the main meeting room. His CCI is planning on more income-generating activities such as sub-contracting space for a local SACCO or bank to open a branch, as well as renting out the main room for wedding or other social events. "We need to maximise the use of our space and become self-sufficient in terms of income," he concluded.

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Sustainable agro-pastoralism in Eritrea

Eritrea is a hot desert strip along the red sea coast with its mountains rising into the central highlands. The western plains extend to the border with Sudan, a vast arid area that receives little rainfall. The IFAD and GEF supported Catchment and Landscape Management Project (CLMP) is working in the western region to address the salient environmental challenge of land degradation.



Eritrean woman's portrait
© Pirozzi

The main driver is deforestation for cropping, fuel wood demand and grazing expansion. The descending hills of Debub and Gash-Barka, stripped of their vegetative cover, are vulnerable to soil erosion, especially when severe rainstorms occur. In recent years, the closure of borders with Sudan and Ethiopia has restricted traditional migration routes of pastoralists in search of water and grassland during the dry season. This has led to intensified population pressures.

CLMP was designed to intervene in the Debub and Gash-Barka provinces where three farming systems predominate: (i) semi-sedentary pastoralism in the low rainfall areas; (ii) sedentary agro-pastoralism in the higher rainfall areas; and (iii) crop rainfed farming.

Assessing the extent of land degradation

An initial component of the CLMP is the land degradation baseline assessment study carried out by each administrative unit, or kebabi, using the Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) methodology. This exercise enables rural communities to determine the current degradation status of their natural resources in the geographic area within the jurisdiction. The assessment contributes to improving the knowledge and understanding of agro-pastoralists with regard to the direct and indirect causes of land degradation; and defining community responses to mitigate and reverse its effects.

Over 32 kebabi land use plans have been developed to strategically manage the identified environmental and crop/livestock production issues. Community participants use visual tools such as community maps and photographs in drafting the plans.

"Through the project we have trained many farmers and pastoralists to manage the natural resource base collectively. This is leading to a shift in behaviour that will help to increase productivity in the region," said Hamed Haidara, IFAD country project manager.

The challenge of working in a post-conflict environment

Sustainable land management is taking place in the difficult context of moving from conflict to recovery following the Eritreo-Ethiopian war. Without a clearly demarcated border between the two countries, the security situation remains tenuous, and small farmers worry about cross-border incursions and also conscription into the national military service. However, the war-affected population is actively choosing sustainable activities as a means of reducing their food insecurity and providing additional livelihood options.  

Community-based investments promoted by the CLMP include construction of farm windbreaks and application of soil and water conservation practices over 3,200 ha of land, establishment of tree nurseries for the production and distribution of 1.7 million tree seedlings (fruit and non-fruit trees), and planting of 1.2 million seedlings for community level afforestation and protection of riverine vegetation.

1,190 households are being helped to assess their annual energy needs and find options to meet these through energy saving stoves and the cultivation of fast growing fuel wood species (e.g. Acacia Senegal).

"In this climate it is difficult to grow crops because rainfall is infrequent and the quality of the land is degraded by constant cultivation and overgrazing. Afforestation addresses these issues by adding fertility to the soil and mitigating erosion," said Eric Rwabidadi, Associate Country Programme Manager.

Voluntary livestock exclusion areas

Another remarkable example from the CLMP is the delineation of Voluntary Livestock Exclusion Areas, including temporally and permanent fenced enclosures to allow the regeneration of forage and pasture.

The locations of the enclosures are carefully selected on the basis of the community's decision, and their management is assigned to voluntary guards who safeguard against any human and animal encroachment.

The project has reached 94,000 households and 470,000 individuals. Encouragingly, it has triggered the adoption of a community-based approach to rejuvenate a once widely forested landscape.

Through their willingness to develop and put into effect kebabi land use plans, the small farmers in Debub and Gash-Barka provinces have demonstrated that they are sensitized to land degradation issues. Their hope is that by contributing materials and their own labour to the project, they can implement a sustainable agro-pastoralism that can lead to a better future.

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