Atonomous Adaptation helping Ethiopian Farmers

Jul 4, 2016

While on a two day visit to Ethiopia, Izumi Nakamitsu, UNDP Assistant Administrator visited communities benefiting from a climate adaptation project initiated in 2012 that has been helping farmers to prepare for climate induced disasters but also boosts their coping capacities from instances such as the recent El Nino.

By the end of 2016, well over the initially projected 5,000 farmers will have received support from the Promoting Autonomous Adaptation (PAA) project. UNDP in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) introduced this project to Ethiopia. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEFCC) of Ethiopia ensures implementation on the ground as a key local partner.  

Farmers receive a combination of support ranging from accessing early climate change warnings to getting better agricultural inputs and breed of cattle in addition to supplementary productivity training and crop insurance.

Ms Nakamitsu toured agricultural farmland where she walked through papaya, haricot beans and maize fields in Desta Abijata village. Some farmers even brought hybrid cattle they had received from the PAA project, noting that these livestock have improved livelihoods as they produce milk for both domestic consumption and selling at the local market.

In the maize fields, Ms Nakamitsu met Tebeso Rashamaba, who had traveled 27km to attend school, but had dropped out in grade eight.  Tebeso earned a living by helping his father in their family owned farm while also growing a few vegetables in a small plot of land he inherited from his father as is the custom. When Tebeso partnered with 24 other young individuals in his village to create an association, the PAA project provided them with improved seeds, green farming technologies and pesticides. The group also received improved corn, bean, papaya, cabbage, onion and tomato seeds in addition to training on running a solar powered water pump installed on their land through PAA project resources. This support helped them grow their annual agricultural production three harvests per year and in the last 3 years, Tebeso’s association has been able to save 300,000 Birr.  

PAA project manager, Mr Tesfaye Woldeyes noted, ‘A few months ago before the rains, you could clearly see the difference. Land under this project was all green while surrounding farmers’ holdings were barren and dry’. He added that the project covers 70% of costs (technical inputs) while beneficiaries raise the remaining 30% usually in the form of land and labor.


Ms Nakamitsu also visited one of eight automatic weather stations placed in various locations across the country. Like Tebeso, farmers benefiting from the project are able to get timely and vital weather information. A solar-powered water pump in Tebeso’s village brings ground water to the surface. Trained in drip irrigation, Tebeso and partners’ productivity is no longer susceptible to changing weather that previously destroyed crops.

Winding up the visit, Ms Nakamitsu congratulated community members for their efforts at improving the productivity of their land and animal resources. She also thanked the Government of Ethiopia for its commitment to the project and called for greater collaboration in order to upscale outreach and results hence achieved through PAA project.

Ms Nakamitsu was accompanied by the Minister of MEFCC, H.E. Dr Shiferaw Teklemariam along with Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie and Mr Samuel Bwalya, UNDP’s Resident Representative and Country Director respectively.   
According to Ms. Wubua Mekonnen, GEF program Specialist, best practices from PAA have been shared countrywide and globally at 2015’s COP21 conference. Moving forward, the Government of Ethiopia is working with UNDP Ethiopia to expand the project into other parts of the country.

Total budget: USD 5,003,761 (GEF) and USD 300,000 (UNDP)
Total PAA project beneficiaries to date: 5,293 farmers (2,924 M and 2,369 F)
Project designed to feed into National Green Climate Resilient Economy set for 2025
Needs based initiative that promotes women and youth inclusion in production processes
Reducing climate vulnerability through integrated green technology access and human capacity development


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