Build victory gardens for 200 Ethiopian students

by Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB), University of Colorado at Boulder
Vetted
Apple flowering after the spring rains
Apple flowering after the spring rains

Dear friends and supporters,

Greetings! The dry season in northern Ethiopia (October-January) is over. As mentioned in our previous report, the El Nino affected the village of Atebes. The El Nino caused drought had negative socioeconomic repercussions. The people had been combating the impacts of drought according to their ability and susing the project techniques. The streams had dried due to the drought. There was shortage of drinking water for households and animals. There are no access to tap water in the village. We have learned that there were some useful rainy days in April and May. The springs are coming back and pastures have begun to grow. The prickly pear plant, which has become widespread in Atebes village in recent years due to its resistance to drought, has also began to provide fruit for the people and fodder for animals. The rains have also been helpful to the apples you helped grow. The apples have flowered and we are hoping that there will be better yields in the fall. People are also hoping that the main rainy season (July-September), which is now late, will be normal so that they can have a better harvest than last year.

Like the community members we are also hoping that you will continue your support so that the subsurface irrigation system using buried clay pots will continue for a larger climate change adaptation.

Thank you from Ethiopia for your support,

another apple flowering after the rains
another apple flowering after the rains
slop terracing in atebes_1
slop terracing in atebes_1

Dear Supports,

The focus of the quarter has been on responding to the current drought due to el nino. The summer rainfall in the village has been very disappointing. If it was not for the safety net program of the country there could have been famine. In the villag of Atebes there were only 6 adequate rainfall days in the summer leading to the collapse of agriculture.

As reported earlier, the water harvesting systems the project developed have been very useful as storage of water relief coming from the government. The two 20,000-liter capacity roof water harvesting system in the church are cleaned and serving as collection of drinking water being delivered by trucks. The 65 cubic meter concrete surface water harvesting tank is being used to store water form the trucks for animals.

Another important activity by the community and the local development agents is the construction of soil and water conservation systems on the slops. This is to help any rain in the futue to be recharged and capture the soil that is often eroded. This will contirbute to future soil fertility and imrpoved stream system for the people.

Again, we will keep you updated about our activities in the future.

Thank you for your support and for becoming change agents.

slop terracing in Atebes_2
slop terracing in Atebes_2
terracing in atebes, tigray, ethiopia
terracing in atebes, tigray, ethiopia
the 2015 drought affected surface water harvesting
the 2015 drought affected surface water harvesting
people fetching water from the water harvesting
people fetching water from the water harvesting
waiting for water brought by tankers
waiting for water brought by tankers
more terracing in atebes
more terracing in atebes
The apple have given fruit
The apple have given fruit

Dear partners,

Sorry for the delayed report. I wanted to share an original and personal information directly from the field.

I arrived at the project site on Sunday December 20 and stayed for two days. I visited the pilot project and was dismayed to see an empty surface reservoir. When I asked why it is not full 4 months after the end of the rainy season, the adults told me that in July and August there were only 6 days of rainfall. Those rains were not even strong. They added that any water that is in the reservoir was a left over from water collected before the rainy season. Fortunately, the apples in the pilot project are in hibernation and none of them have dried.

The 2015/16 super El Nino that is making havoc around the world drives the drought in Ethiopia. Ethiopia not is in a disaster management mood. Food is being imported and tankers are distributing water. The infrastructure developed by the Ethiopian government has made it ready to manage the crisis. For example the new railroad from the port city of Djibouti to Addis Ababa has enabled the imported food to be distributed to the people very efficiently.

The infrastructure of the pilot project was found to be handy to be filled with water being freely distributed and stored. While other villages have to wait for the tanker to get their water into the containers and water until the next arrival, the people in the village of Atebes have cleaned up the two plastic tankers to be filled with water. They are now ready to clean the surface water harvesting concrete tanker to be filled with three tankers. The people are now more excited that the first time the project constructed the tankers to water the apples in the demonstration site.  All the streams in the village have dried except the one with in situ water harvesting system the project constructed.

Another good story I want to share is that several farmers have witnessed the increased production in apples. Some have harvested 80 apple fruits while other has harvested forty or fifty fruits. I ate one apple from one tree after being offered and found it very tasty.

Again thank you and congratulations for your contribution. Usually, unintended consequences are negative. In the case of our project the untended consequences the development of an infrastructure that contributed to the reduction of vulnerability and support for drought risk management. Please keep on doing the great job and thank you for your support. Any support you give to this project going to strengthen the capacity of the people to cope with any disaster impacts including the 2015/16 Super El Nino.

Merry X-mass and Happy New Year

tankers being used for water distribution
tankers being used for water distribution
empty reservoir will be filled by water tankers
empty reservoir will be filled by water tankers
I tasted the apple and it was delicous
I tasted the apple and it was delicous
Aridity during th rainy season
Aridity during th rainy season
  • Several institutes from NOAA to the Australian Weather Bureau are releasing information that the 2015 El Nino will be much stronger than that of the 1997/98 El Nino. The Effect of El Nino is felt locally either in the form of abnormal rainfall or extreme drought. I have received reports from the project area that extreme drought has been felt in the village. According to our volunteer, Amanuel Gebru who visited the village ten days ago he stated that “Speaking about the rainfall situation- the project area is severely affected by the current drought impact. There were only three days of rain each month since the beginning of the rainy season in June, July and August.” He added that “cereals are in the field are getting wilted” and farmers waiting for at least two rains in order to have at least minimum harvest and avert total crop failure”.
  • The check dams for in situ water harvesting have done great but they need to be raised so that they can trap more sediment and moisture, Amanuel added. However, the treated stream is much better than the other springs that have already dried due to the poor rainy season in the village. Spring flow is very low due to the aridity due to the failure of the rainy season. There is fear that the spring might not serve them more than three months unless they receive rain in the mean time. The water flow in the small gully down the spring is lower than last year at the same time as the photos by Amanuel Gebru (below) show.
  • Based on the observation obtained about the apple trees especially in farmers’ field are started harvests ranging from 5-50 fruits per trees on average. Though they didn’t sell the fruits due to lack of access to the market they are adding new food variety to their diet. Our volunteer states that the use of clay pots to grow temperate fruits is a success and has impacted the community.
  • Dear supports: Immediate action is needed to harvest any rainfall that might come out side the main season such as in October as happened in the 1997/98 El Nino even. Thank you for your continued success.
There should have been more water than this
There should have been more water than this
Optimism  due to the maturity of the apple fruits
Optimism due to the maturity of the apple fruits
Ato Hailemariam around the houshold apple
Ato Hailemariam around the houshold apple
Amanuel Gebru with Ato Hailu and Ato Hailemariam
Amanuel Gebru with Ato Hailu and Ato Hailemariam
the clay pot installation layout
the clay pot installation layout

Dear supporters

Your support of the  Victory gardens project is developing an wider intereste that can potential be useful to upscale it to a wider application and diffusion. The Mater thesis on the use of clay pots that was inspired by the project has become fruitfull.

Amanuel Gebru has been a volunteer at out victory gardens project in Ethiopia. He was inspired by the concept of the Victory Gardens project because he saw the potential transformative ability of the concept of using water filled buried clay pots as efficient irrigation technologies to grow fruits and vegetables in the dry-lands. The technology helps communities to produce fruits and vegetables and lead to food and livelihood security. As last reported the volunteer was admitted to the Masters Program at the Ethiopian Institute for Climate and Society at Mekelle University.

Amanuel decided to contribute to the idea of the project by choosing his MSC thesis on the design of locally made clay pots (bar-shaped) and economic potential to grow vegetables. The title of his thesis is “Evaluating water and economic productivity of bar shaped clay pot irrigation technology under small scale Swiss chard, pepper and tomato growers’ condition in northern Ethiopia.” He has now completed his thesis and successfully defended it on June 14th, 2015.

The objective of his thesis is “to assess the yield response, water productivity and economic performance of a bar shaped clay pot design for selected vegetables”. The specific objectives have been “to compare the yield and yield component responses of bar shaped clay pot sub-surface and furrow irrigation system by comparing the water productivity of bar shaped clay pot and furrow irrigation and to compare the economic performance of bar shaped clay pot irrigation and furrow irrigation application”. Amanuel’s field site was in a plot located at Mekelle University and harvested vegetables multiple times in a year and collected detailed data to compare the productivity of clay pot irrigation and conventional watering system on crop yields as well as water saving.

The planting procedure used was vegetable seeds and seedlings were planted at “0.05 m apart from the wall of the pots in both sides in the case of Swiss chard and one side of the pot in pepper and tomato. The furrow has also its own dimension and it was similar in both tomato and pepper that is 0.2 m width of lower furrow and 0.3 m upper width and the plant was placed at an average 0.25m. Whereas 0.1m width of lower furrow and 0.2m upper width of the furrow then seed were dropped at 0.15 m width of the furrow in the case of Swiss chard.” Here are the findings of Amanuel’s research research.

  • The yield increased in clay pot by 51%, 32% and 30% in Swiss chard, tomato and pepper respectively.
  • Water saving capability was 40.55%, 41.74% and 41.18% in Swiss chard, tomato and pepper respectively
  • Water productivity of bar shaped clay pot was 10.9 kg/m3, 4.17 kg/m3 and 1.83 kg/m3 in Swiss chard, tomato and pepper correspondingly that is by far superior than furrow irrigation practice

Economic return of clay pot in Swiss chard with net benefit of 374,761.8, 226,066.2 in tomato and 182, 846 Ethiopian birr in pepper and this was much higher than the net benefit from furrow irrigation practice after six season harvest by forecasting

This is very important for the diffusion of the technology with multiple effects. The clay pots for the research were made by a local rural woman. The findings are great confirmations to the extension community and development agents to share with farmers to improve their income and diversify their family nutrition. We would like to thank you

Amanuel's main advisor was Dr. Araya Alemie of Mekelle University and the research and Amanuel's study was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation grant.  He is also gratefull to Dr. Amanuel Abraha, Director of the Ethiopian Institue for Climate and Society for his support and leadership.

Again, thank you for your usual support.

after plantation of the vegetables
after plantation of the vegetables
 

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Project Leader:
Tsegay Wolde-Georgis
Dr.
Boulder, CO United States
$9,210 raised of $30,000 goal
 
 
222 donations
$20,790 to go
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