2021-2022 Trócaire Annual ReportLearn More
Lesho Arkerech, 31 from South Omo, southern Ethiopia, is a member of the innovative Trócaire livestock insurance programme. Photo: Barnaby Jaco Skinner.
Ethiopia, like Somalia and Sudan, has endured three consecutive failed rainy seasons. This continues a pattern of increasing drought brought on by climate change in the Horn of Africa. The region is currently experiencing a sharp increase in hunger and malnutrition.
Trócaire and its partner Agri-service Ethiopia (ASE) are working with farmers in Ethiopia to help them adapt to the daunting challenges posed by drought and desertification.
Desertification, where fertile land becomes desert, is a growing problem in Ethiopia, reducing the amount of land available for farmers to use. Many farmers in Ethiopia are pastoralists – they earn their living by raising and herding cattle. They depend on a steady supply of animal feed.
Desertification has been exacerbated by climate change but one of the key drivers is animal overgrazing. One of the solutions for farmers is protecting land that has been over grazed and giving it the chance to recover. The rejuvenation of rangeland i.e. grass, trees and shrubs, is vital for cattle and livestock herding.
Arsela Kabua, a farmer from South Omo in Ethiopia, says, “I met Trócaire and Agri-service Ethiopia in 2019 and they told me I should be building rangeland because my business is buying and selling goats. I buy them young and fatten them over the years then sell them for a profit. They are good animals for this climate because they can survive drought with less feed than cattle.”
“After a season the grass is long enough for me to harvest and store for the future. It’s a very good idea. They also showed me how to use trenches to collect water and keep the soil fertile. They even bought my family three goats on the condition that we gift the first kid to another family. I now understand why rangeland is so important to keeping my goats alive and fed.”
Addisu Ayano, a project coordinator with ASE says, “All of our projects with Trócaire are about problem solving. I work in the humanitarian field because I like to solve problems. I want to help the people of South Omo. At Agri-service, we constantly monitor our projects to see if they are working or not and change them accordingly.”
Another initiative introduced by Trócaire and ASE in South Omo is livestock insurance. Trócaire introduced the insurance scheme for livestock in 2018. It helps protect farmers’ livestock by offering cash payouts if grass availability falls below 20% of their grazing land. The payouts are used to purchase animal feed to keep livestock alive during difficult seasons.
Lesho Arkerech, 31, is another farmer.
Lesho is a change leader. He champions livestock insurance to the rest of his community, acting as a representative for Trócaire. He receives commission for every person he signs up. “It was hard at first, but once I had one or two, the rest of the community wanted to join. Now everyone is part of the programme.”
“I have protection now. My animals are protected. Trócaire have provided us with livestock, training, skills and insurance. Really, I am so grateful.”
“My children will be able to go to school and be educated this year. The insurance saves our livelihood and livestock equals income. We will have food and water on the table even through the drought. This would not have been possible before.”