waste and want

ጤና ይስጥልኝ from Ethiopia,

The devastating famine in Ethiopia in 1984 is etched in the memories of people who witnessed it from afar as well as those who were close. In Ethiopia itself, the need to drought-proof the country has become a national programme. The results – always likely to be a work in progress – are impressive.

This is manifestly no mere token effort. The massive dam (slightly controversial) on The Blue Nile is one measure. Add to that the planting of 1.5 billion trees, and not just on median strips and roadsides. The large-scale reforesting of hillsides provides a source of transpiration. The great Australian eucalypts are in abundance here. Pasture improvement and soil retention programmes have been largely successful.

merkato Addis Ababa

The greening of Ethiopia is a huge task. In the north, where the rainfall has always been less reliable, charcoal sales still augment goat herders’ incomes. The encroaching Sahara needs an artificial green belt. Irrigation is necessary for semi-arid areas in Tigray and D’Arfur.

Authorities will need to be cognisant of avoiding propping up unsustainable lifestyles and landuses as well as the need to entice agriculturalists into sustainable lands where they produce injera, the staple food of the nation.

There is even some incipient evidence that the greening of the land is yielding greater precipitation. Totals have been increasing slightly in the recent decade.

The famines of the past have left an ingrained legacy of wasting no food in this nation. It’s typical for the locals to leave not a single morsel on their plates (and, curiously, to unselfconsciously, feed each other). There is an obvious legacy from devastation and it looks to be a good one.

ጥብቅ ምልዓል from Ethiopia


eucalypts in Ethiopia

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