Watershed Dev’t Improves Farmers’ Crop Production: Ministry

Addis Ababa, February 2/2020 (ENA) Ethiopia’s community based participatory watershed development has improved agricultural productivity in each crop through water and soil conservation, Ministry of Agriculture said.

Natural Resources Management Director at the Ministry, Tefera Tadesse, said the impact assessment showed that each year more than one quintal productivity increase perceived following the integrated watershed development put in place.

The integrated watershed development helps reduce farmers' liability to flooding and fertile soil erosion that enhanced plant coverage and improved environmental protection, he said. So, the works have improved agricultural productivity.

Globally, Ethiopia is a role model in terms of mobilizing such a huge community to conserve the natural resources without any payment, he stated.

More than 63 million people have participated in the community based watershed developments in several regions that saved 58 billion birr in the last four years, the Director elaborated.

Tefera pointed out that substantial amount of land has been covered with watersheds, to protect flood, land degradation and soil erosion, which as a result increased agricultural productivity.

“At the onset, the works were not sustainable in solving the problems to the required extent due to lack of awareness and vastness of the water shade to be covered,” he said.

But after the recent intervention to improve the second phase, the watershed development becoming successful, which has helped decrease flooding, preserving fertile soil for agricultural production, the Director stated.

He indicated that it would have cost billion of USD to rehabilitate the devastated land unless the community based works have been introduced in the past four decades.

“About 27 billion birr has been saved due to this community based participation during the first GTP,” he added.

In four years, Ethiopia managed to cover close to 9 million hectares of land with watershed development program that could have cost 58 billion birr.

This is one third of the expected work to cover 30 up to 40 million hectares of land with watersheds. So, more effort and work is needed, he insisted.

The ministry has a plan to cover and conserve 5 million hectares of land this year and some regions started the works and others in full preparation.

The natural resources management was started in the early 1980s to rehabilitate and conserve the devastated natural resources following the drought at the time.

Ethiopian News Agency