Ethiopia: Rapid preparation of agricultural land for efficient agricultural production
Ethiopia has made every effort to ensure food security. The rapid growth of its population; change of fertile agricultural land under construction for city dwellers; climate change; decline in available natural resources; inflation of basic needs; a greater number of unemployed young people, among other reasons, has forced the country to give due importance to the agricultural sector.
Therefore, currently, to overcome the challenges mentioned above, the country has intensified the summer season; the main rainy season for land preparation. The country badly needs greater commitment and not only the participation of the government, but it also needs the participation of stakeholders and international organizations to meet the basic needs of the people.
The country needs to develop commercial agriculture from afar by improving infrastructure, providing incentives and exporting agricultural products. In addition, the demand and price of food has increased over the past decade more than ever in Ethiopia. The variability in the increase in food prices occurs over a short period of time, season and years.
Meanwhile, Science of The Total Environment, in its recent edition under the theme: “Potential Predictability of Ethiopian Summer Rains: Understanding Local Variations and Their Implications for Water Management Decisions,” Ethiopia said is known for its complex topography characterized by various types of climate ranging from humid climate covering the Ethiopian highlands west of the Rift Valley, to arid climatic zones east of the Rift Valley where the lowlands lie and semi-deserts.
Climatic variations have an impact on the management and use of water resources throughout the country and affect the water availability situation in various sectors. Besides the different climatic zones, the interannual variability of rainfall in Ethiopia is high. Ethiopia, a country of over 100 million people, according to 2019 data from the Central Statistics Agency (CSA), is experiencing increasing urbanization, industrialization and more extreme weather events. Understanding the large-scale atmospheric and oceanic processes that control the interannual variability of precipitation is essential for effectively and equitably managing limited water resources among different users.
More importantly, Ethiopia’s annual rainfall cycle can be characterized by three main seasons: June to September (known locally as Kiremt, which is the main rainy season), February / March to May (known locally as name Belg, second rainy season) and the dry season from October to January (known locally as Bega). Most of the previous studies on the link between large-scale atmospheric precipitation and Ethiopian precipitation have focused on precipitation from June to September, while fewer have focused on precipitation from February / March to May.
In almost all cases, the influence of Pacific Ocean surface temperatures (SST), in the form of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), has been established with the El Nino events associated with a decrease in precipitation. However, it should be noted that the local influence of this phenomenon varies spatially across the country, he said.
According to the analysis carried out in 2011, the equatorial Pacific, the mid-latitude northwest Pacific and the Gulf of Guinea also influence the JJAS precipitation over Ethiopia. They noted that the relative strength of these influences showed variations in different parts of the country and emphasized the need to explore local variations when using relationships for seasonal forecasting purposes. Therefore, there is a lack of knowledge in previous studies regarding the identification of local areas related to which influencers and their relevance to specific sectors such as local water management issues.
For example, local water management decisions based on larger rainfall cycles at the national or basin level could provide misleading interventions due to the complexity of Ethiopia’s climate. Therefore, choosing the appropriate season for a specific region guided by water management applications and understanding the link with different teleconnections would be more relevant than the knowledge gap that this research attempts to fill in the context of. ‘a subnational scale.
To explore the impact of large-scale SST factors on the spatial variability of seasonal precipitation at the local scale, the analysis for this study focuses on the Awash River Basin in Ethiopia. The watershed, strategically very relevant to Ethiopia, hosts a variety of different types of water users, complex hydro-climatological conditions and a complicated water governance situation that makes it an interesting case study. in the context of rainfall variability and water management applications, It Said.
The basin has suffered the devastating effects of climatic extremes, including drought during the events of El Nino in 2015/16, followed by heavy rains and flooding in 2017 in different parts of the basin, United Nations Office for the Coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA), 2016 and 2017 reported.
These events could have been managed more easily with robust and actionable weather and climate information on seasonal and sub-seasonal timescales. It is therefore important to understand the drivers of sub-seasonal to seasonal variability in the basin’s precipitation to improve water management and resilience to climate extremes.
The FAO Quarterly Global Crop Prospects and Food Situation report indicates that land preparation is underway for the 2021 main season, which has started in the main growing areas of the Central Provinces, the Rift Valley and the Rift Valley. western Kenya (“long rains” season), southern and central Somalia (“Gu”) and the bimodal rainfall regions of southern South Sudan and Uganda. In Ethiopia, planting of secondary “Belg” crops, to be harvested from May, is currently underway in the regions of eastern Amhara, eastern Oromia, southern Tigray. and the northeast of the SNNP.
In the conflict-affected Tigray plantation operations, it is likely that the plantation operations will be affected by insecurity and shortage of inputs due to market disruptions. In the unimodal rainfall areas of central and southern United Republic of Tanzania, planting of the 2021 âMsimuâ crops, to be harvested in May / June, was completed in December 2020. Heavy rainfall between November 2020 and early February 2021 have benefited development crops. However, heavy rains have caused flooding in the southern Mtwara region, which is likely to lead to localized cereal production deficits. In Rwanda and Burundi, harvest of the â2021Aâ season crops was delayed by about a month, ending in February, due to a late start of the September-November 2020 rains.
Heavy rains during the season compensated for the first moisture deficits in most areas and agricultural production is estimated to be above average in both countries. However, the late harvest of the â2021Aâ season crops has delayed land preparation and planting for the â2021Bâ season, increasing the risk that the crops will not reach full maturity before the end of the seasonal rains in March. -may.
According to the latest weather forecast from the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF), the rainy season of March-May 2021 will be characterized by above-average rainfall over eastern South Sudan, northeastern Uganda, western Kenya, central United Republic of Tanzania and northern Somalia. Below average rains are expected over northern and eastern Ethiopia and parts of western South Sudan, while average amounts of precipitation are expected over the remainder of the sub. -region, he said.
BY ALAZAR SHIFERAW