Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan Development Workshop: CHIESA Visits Ethiopia

The CHIESA Project organized and hosted the 1st Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan Development Workshop for the Jimma Highlands. Held at the Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 2-3 June 2014, the workshop featured representatives from key development and environmental organizations from Ethiopia, as well as scientists from the project to discuss adaptation actions required in the Jimma Highlands. These actions are expected to enhance functional agro-ecosystems under the impacts of climate variability and change.

Jimma Highlands is the original habitat of the wild populations of Coffee arabica where it is mainly cultivated under shade trees with varying intensities. The impacts of climate variability and change, combined with human-induced land use/land cover change on the undulating hills have an influence on the functional agro-biodiversity and agricultural production there. Adaptation options discussed and developed for the area include promotion of conservation agriculture, enhancement of biological control and Integrated Pest Management to tackle emerging crop pests and diseases, among others.

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Facilitators of the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan Development Workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. From left: Professor Shadrack Mwakalila, Dr. Fabrice Pinard and Dr. Brigitte Nyambo.

Dr. Brigitte Nyambo, CHIESA’s Head of Dissemination of Main Results and their Application, introduced the meeting’s agenda, while the meeting’s official opening speech came courtesy of Dr. Degelo Sandabo of Addis Ababa University. He provided an overview of CHIESA and its current activities in Jimma Highlands, undertaken in collaboration with the Jimma and Addis Ababa Universities.

Facilitators of the workshop were CHIESA scientists Professor Shadrack Mwakalila (Leader of WP6 on Water Resource Management) and Dr. Fabrice Pinard (WP5 Research on Coffee Pests and Diseases).

Dr. Pinard’s presentation, titled ‘Review of the Assessment report 5 of IPCC and its consequences on CHIESA project’, gave a review of the report 5 of IPCC and its consequences on CHIESA project’s activities summarized as follows:

  • Distribution of disease, insect pests and natural enemies will be will likely increase where there is an increase in temperature
  • Increasing temperature in different scenarios indicate increasing trends of temperature in the future, in different countries
  • With temperature rises, the productivity of maize, sorghum, wheat and bean will decrease while cassava productivity will increase.

When asked why only the coffee crop was selected for study in Jimma, whereas the area’s mixed farming system had other crops, including the staple maize, Dr. Pinard responded that during the CHIESA project’s inception period, coffee was considered the most important crop in Jimma highlands, and selected because it is one of the major economic crops for the entire country. He however clarified that the action plan will be developed for all major crops grown in the transect, although coffee was exclusively selected for research activities.

“As a perennial crop, coffee stays in the field for a longer period compared to annual crops, making it easier to observe, record and monitor impact of climate change as well as observe and record seasonal variation of climate on perennial crops,” said Dr. Pinard.

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Participants at the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan Development Workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Participants had the opportunity to chime in on current policy and capacity in Ethiopia with regard to climate change adaptation initiatives, programs and strategies.

It was mentioned that the Ethiopian government had implemented several programs to improve and/ or ensure food security. Water issues are more prominently tackled, because Ethiopia is about 60% arid or semi-arid. These programs focus on water banking and harvesting, watershed management, and improved energy supply. While Ethiopians are generally happy with the government’s efforts to address water problems, it was acknowledged that these programs paid poor attention to water-related diseases like malaria.

 

The Ethiopian government also supports and promotes ‘greening the country’ through aforestation. The motto “Promoting Green Economy” used at the national level is said to guide the economic development of the country. This concept is applied to the agricultural, economy and industry, and energy supply sectors. As this concept was further explained, the national collective plan was frequently mentioned. This plan includes the in-kind contribution of all farmers nationwide, who are incited to dedicate 60 days of work per year to aforestation and conservation issues. It is no wonder that the country’s forest cover has seen an increase of between 40-60% to a present day total of 11% cover, a significant leap from 3% cover in the recent past.

 

When focus shifted to adaptation options in use to implement Ethiopia’s strategy for development, a general statement on the major role played by the coffee production and livestock sectors was offered. Participants shared that Ethiopia has a strong, traditional culture of pastoralism, making the country the 9th largest country on earth for livestock production; however, it is also associated with very poor management skills by farmers. This partly explains the recurring situation of overgrazing in the Ethiopian pasture lands. 

 

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Participants at the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan Development Workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

Discussion about coffee concentrated on the Jimma area where CHIESA operates, and where the crop is the main source of revenue. The coffee/forest area of Jimma zone is one of the three agro-ecological areas of the region, along with maize (and other cereals) zone and the lowland-Enset-livestock zone. The coffee zone is the less degraded of the three zones, probably due to the presence of forest in this area. This is seen as a consequence of shaded coffee practice in use, and an impact of the collective action plan.

 

Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan Development fulfils one of the CHIESA project’s key objectives; to develop adaptation tools/practices, community-based action plan, and to establish an adaptation management framework for climate variability and change in the target areas in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Outputs generated from these three transects will be considered representative of conditions in Eastern Africa, and will aid CHIESA in development of climate change adaptation strategies for the region.

 

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