Community participation: greening the Aba Gerima watershed in Ethiopia
The rolling plains of the Aba Gerima watershed cover the upper portion of Lake Tana sub-basin in north-western Ethiopia. Agriculture is its mainstay, with cereal cultivation occupying about 60% of 984 hectares. But the ecology of the landscape is threatened by the conversion of natural vegetated land to cropland, and continuing land degradation has been affecting the livelihoods of farmers.
From 2012 onwards, a program of voluntary community labor investment based Natural Resource Management (NRM) has been applied to Aba Gerima, including the building of farm bunds, vegetative hedgerows, run-off waterways on cultivated lands, check dams on gullies, exclosures to restrict grazing and in-situ moisture harvesting structures to rehabilitate the degraded hills. In addition, agricultural practices such as improved crop varieties, fodder species, livestock breeds, agricultural machinery and intensified home garden activities have been demonstrated and promoted.
Photo credit: Dr. Gizaw Desta/ICRISAT