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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)


Bringing seasonal forecasts to the farmer: participatory climate smart villages for Green Growth in Ethiopia


PI: Belay Simane (simaneb@yahoo.com; belay.simane@aau.edu.et), Addis Ababa University
U.S. Partner: Benjamin Zaitchik, Johns Hopkins University
Project Dates: December 2016 - May 2021

Project Overview:

5-194 Field
Farmers working to secure a climate smart village. Photo courtesy of Dr. Birhanu
5-194_Belay photo field monitoring
2021 Local village. Photo credit: Dr. Birhanu
5-194_Belay photo field monitoring2
2021 Field Monitoring by research group. Photo credit: Dr. Birhanu
5-194_Belay photo field monitoring3
2021 Local field monitoring in progress. Photo credit: Dr. Birhanu
Climate change adaptation is a high priority for Ethiopia and other climate-vulnerable countries. At the farm and village level, however, long-term planning for climate change means very little. Subsistence agriculture communities survive on a year-to-year basis, and the productivity of the coming season’s crops is typically too important and is often too uncertain to allow for adaptation planning on the decades-long time horizon of climate change projections. In this context, improved use of seasonal forecasts offers a climate resilience building strategy that pays dividends under current conditions and is likely to become even more essential as patterns of climate variability shift in coming years. The use of seasonal forecasts is also flexible and adaptable to context in a way that few adaptation strategies are. A specific cropping technology or seed variety may not work across agroecosystems, but improved approaches to interpreting and acting on seasonal climate forecasts can contribute to resilience in a wide range of settings.

The guiding principle for this project is that seasonal forecasts generated at the agroecosystem level, developed collaboratively with farmers, will advance understanding of the adaptation process and contribute to climate resilience in subsistence-based communities.

The proposed work would leverage and expand a climate smart village (CSV) network that has proven to be an effective mechanism to engage farmers in generating climate resilience solutions. The CSVs will inform application of forecasts through participatory forecast interpretation and communication.

They will also provide a platform for linking forecasts to culturally and ecologically appropriate actions to make use of forecast information. Meanwhile, the project focus on best-available seasonal forecasts will add a dimension of capabilities to CSVs that is currently absent.

2020 updates:

With the onset of COVID pandemic, the project team's activities have been focusing on improving and finalizing the remaining tasks in climate  smart villages. The project hypothesized that subsistence farmers can establish climate-smart villages to optimize cropping and in-season management decisions to reduce climate vulnerability and establish climate-smart agriculture at local levels. The project team recognized that a three-year project may not be sufficient to test this hypothesis fully, but they began to implement a sustainable local-level institutional infrastructure that will be used to study resilience over longer time periods. The PI notes, that the project, therefore, must be a long-term commitment. Throughout the project, the team tried to engage Agriculture and Environment offices, community leaders, and local government officials to ensure institutional buy-in. They also partnered with DMU and BDU that offer sustainable supply of expertise for interpreting and communicating seasonal forecast information. The project aims to understand what on-farm practices, community resources, and/or governance enabling environments are needed to allow villages to make their
agriculture climate-smart.

With the project's timeline extended until May 2021, the project team aims to continue monitoring, evaluation and learning from climate smart villages, and conduct the final 3-day long stakeholders' workshop on Climate Smart Villages. The event will bring together researchers, development workers and farmers to assess the effectiveness of the project and assess enablers and barriers for scaling up climate smart villages. One of the workshop's goals will be to amend the methods, datasets and approaches of Climate Smart Villages as an epicenter of green growth at local levels.
 
Peer reviewed journals and proceedings:

1. Demamu Mesfin, Belay Simane, Abraham Belay, John W. Recha and Habtamu Tadesse (2020). Woodland Cover Change in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Forests 2020, 11(9), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090916.
2. Yenealem Gemi & Belay Simane (2020). Assessing the Impact of Watershed Management Interventions on Livelihood of Small- Scale Farmers and Ecosystem Services in Choke Mountains, East Gojjam Zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Global Journals, Volume 20 Issue 3 Version 1.0. Online ISSN: 2249-4626 & Print ISSN: 0975-5896Year 2020.
3. Chala Dechassa, Belay Simane and Bamlaku Alamerew (2020) Analysis of farmers’ perceived and observed climate variability and change in Didessa sub-basin, Blue Nile River, Ethiopia. Afr. J. Agric. Res. Vol. 15(2), pp. 149-164, February, 2020 DOI: 10.5897/AJAR2019.14054.
4. Sankaranarayanan S, Zhang Y, Carney J, Nigussie Y, Esayas B, Simane B, Zaitchik B and Siddiqui S (2020) What Are the Domestic and Regional Impacts from Ethiopia’s Policy on the Export Ban of Teff? Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 4:4. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.00004
5. Mintesinot Taye, Belay Simane, Benjamin F. Zaitchik, Yihenew G. Selassie and Shimelis Setegn (2019). Rainfall Variability across the Agro-Climatic Zones of a Tropical Highland: The Case of the Jema Watershed, Northwestern Ethiopia. Environments 2019, 6, 118; doi:10.3390/environments6110118
 
Journal references:

1. Demamu Mesfin, Belay Simane, Abraham Belay, John W. Recha and Habtamu Tadesse (2020). Woodland Cover Change in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Forests 2020, 11(9), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090916.
2. Yenealem Gemi & Belay Simane (2020). Assessing the Impact of Watershed Management Interventions on Livelihood of Small- Scale Farmers and Ecosystem Services in Choke Mountains, East Gojjam Zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Global Journals, Volume 20 Issue 3 Version 1.0. Online ISSN: 2249-4626 & Print ISSN: 0975-5896Year 2020.
3. Chala Dechassa, Belay Simane and Bamlaku Alamerew (2020) Analysis of farmers’ perceived and observed climate variability and change in Didessa sub-basin, Blue Nile River, Ethiopia. Afr. J. Agric. Res. Vol. 15(2), pp. 149-164, February, 2020 DOI: 10.5897/AJAR2019.14054.
4. Sankaranarayanan S, Zhang Y, Carney J, Nigussie Y, Esayas B, Simane B, Zaitchik B and Siddiqui S (2020) What Are the Domestic and Regional Impacts from Ethiopia’s Policy on the Export Ban of Teff? Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 4:4. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.00004
5. Mintesinot Taye, Belay Simane, Benjamin F. Zaitchik, Yihenew G. Selassie and Shimelis Setegn (2019). Rainfall Variability across the Agro-Climatic Zones of a Tropical Highland: The Case of the Jema Watershed, Northwestern Ethiopia. Environments 2019, 6, 118; doi:10.3390/environments6110118

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