Living with climate change, drought and desertification in Ethiopia

Trócaire 28 Jun 2022

In Southern Ethiopia, pastoralists like Kulu Halake depend on their cattle to survive. But climate change has brought more frequent and intense drought

Kula says

“I am fifty eight years old and once owned over one hundred cattle. The last six months has been the hardest of my life. The drought has come and has hit us very hard for three years now. I have lost all my cattle except for one calf. He is our only hope. But what hope is a single calf?“

“We need aid, we need support. We are now in real danger of dying next.”

Climate change, in tandem with overgrazing, is also exacerbating Ethiopia’s desertification problem. This is reducing the amount of land available to farm.

The UN estimates that Ethiopia loses approximately 2 billion metric tons of arable soil annually. There are three major ways to address the problem: extensive reforestation, closing off heavily degraded land to grazing, and helping farmers move from animal to plant based farming.

In South Omo, Ethiopia, Trócaire has been working with our partner Agri Service Ethiopia (ASE). ASE are increasing the resilience of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities to the impact of increasing drought and desertification.

They provide a range of training in techniques and practices for taking care of livestock in this challenging and hostile climate. They also provide business and financial training to help people diversify their income sources.

Aymana Kole took part in a recent ASE project, she told us,

‘ASE have taught me business skills. They have helped me to develop my own business buying and selling maize and goats. I can sell both items for a good profit in my village. I also buy beans and coffee, anything that I think might be profitable. Dried beans are my best seller.” Aymana Kole

“After my training I have been able to set up a business and generate an income for my family. I can call myself somebody and my family is surviving. I am now saving to open a shop and even, one day, a car so I can expand and deliver products.”