Ethiopia is experiencing one of the worst effects of climate change, Droughts. The recent droughts are the most severe that the country has experienced in the last 40 years, pushing millions into an alarming life threatening hunger.
The drought has resulted in increased cost of living. Food prices have skyrocketed . The war in Ukraine and Tigray has worsened the situation.
Agriculture is the main economic activity for the people of Asmara and Gamo Zone. A single failed crop season has possible to threaten hundreds into chronic hunger.
To mitigate the effects of drought and war on supply of the much-needed cereal, Vita has been supporting farmers in the region with inputs and knowledge needed to grow this crop. The program has supported over 200 highland farmers to grow oats.
The results of this support have been a boost in drought resistant cereal production and increased supply of nutritious cereal in the midland and highlands areas of south and north-west Ethiopia which is severely affected by drought. The program has further built food security for over 200 families participating in the growing of the oats.
Oats production is not only increasing availability of food in the region, is also acting as a viable rotational crop with the potato. Growing oats in rotation with potatoes has improved soil health and increased yields of both crops.
Previously, farmers in the regions lost revenue due to lack of value addition to their produce. To increase crop value, we have supported farmers with processing equipment while providing linkages to markets that offtake at a higher price.
Oat production has reduced farmer dependence on a single crop, making farmers resilient to climate induced shocked as they have a fallback cereal in times of crop failure.
Today, the region boosts of not only healthy people but livestock as well. Farmers provide oat residue as backstop animal feed. The improvement in animal health means increased livestock productivity, income, and nutrition for the farmer and their families.
The success that we have scored with this project has motivated us to scale-up to wider communities. We are using the lessons and best practices learnt in these two regions to replicate oat production to other regions.