Study on Climate Change and Bumper Crop in Eritrea Hint to Higher Rainfall Levels

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Eritrea is expecting a very good harvest due to above average rainfall in most parts of the country. The announcement was made by the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Arefaine Berhe, while marking World Food Day on 16 October 2016 in the Hamelmalo College of Agricul-ture under the theme “Climate is Changing Food and Agriculture must too.”

 

According to a study, published in Nature Climate Change, there has been a recovery of the rainfall in the Sahel region prompted by rising temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea, climate science website CarbonBrief said.

The Sahel region stretches from the Atlantic coast of Mauritania and Senegal through to Sudan, Eritrea and the Red Sea. It gets almost all of its rainfall in one wet season between June and September.

Although, the study suggests that continued warming could make reliable rainfall more likely in the region, some scientists argue that climate change will be not beneficial for the Sahel – or Africa – overall.

Therefore, Eritrea’s location in the low rain and dry Sahel region makes this year’s World Food Day theme, “Climate is Changing Food and Agriculture must too.”, even more important, as Eritrea’s Agriculture Minister pointed out.

“Climate-smart agriculture is a matter of survival and this is precisely why Eritrea takes very seriously soil and water conservation, in general and water harvesting in particular,” the Minister said.


Eritrea Expecting a Bumper Harvest

gerset-farm
Gerset farm in Gash Barka region of Eritrea

By Eritrea Mission to AU,

The Minister of Agriculture of Eritrea, Mr. Arefaine Berhe, disclosed that thanks to the above average rainfall registered in most parts of the country, Eritrea is expecting a very good harvest.

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The Minister made the statement during the commemoration of the World Food Day held on 16 October 2016 in the Hamelmalo College of Agriculture under the theme “Climate is Changing Food and Agriculture must too.”

Highlighting that this year’s theme could not be more appropriate for Eritrea, Minister Arefaine pointed out that Eritrea is situated in the Sahelian part of Africa and thus the rains are usually insufficient and erratic. Hence, for Eritrea, climate-smart agriculture is a matter of survival, he added. The Minister stressed that is precisely why Eritrea takes very seriously soil and water conservation, in general and water harvesting in particular.
 


Statement by Mr. Arefaine Berhe, Minister of Agriculture, on World Food Day

Mr. Chairman!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

First of all I thank all of you for accepting our invitation and travelling all the way to mark this year’s World Food Day in this beautiful College of Agriculture. I also take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to the Dean, and Community of the Hamelmalo College of Agriculture for offering us this beautiful venue. As was explained by the dean, this is the main institution which is producing professional work-force which is manning the public and private sector and above all our future professional farmers and that is why we cannot observe the World Food Day in A Better Place.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

This year’s theme is “Climate is Changing Food and Agriculture must too”. As we can all appreciate, Climate Change and its impact is Global and Eritrea, as a member of the International Community naturally thinks Globally but acts locally. And this is what is required of every member country inorder to sustain the health and productivity of the only planet we share.

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This theme could not be more appropriate for Eritrea. As this country is situated in the Sahelian part of Africa, the rains are usually insufficient and erratic. Because of this situation, climate-smart agriculture, for us is not just a piece of UN agreement but more of a survival. And this is precisely the reason why Eritrea takes soil and water conservation, in general, and water harvesting in particular very seriously.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

As I said earlier for us climate centered programmes are not just obligations and responsibilities to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) come 2030. On the contrary they are increasingly becoming part and parcel of our culture and everyday life.

To ensure the sustainability of these programmes, our kids are being introduced to the impact of the environment on our development efforts and on the lives of our people and their future progress. That is why green clubs are mushrooming in every school starting from the elementary level. These clubs are becoming beacons of awareness raising around their schools and the surrounding communities. Students at high school level also participate in summer campaigns where they are engaged in the construction of terraces, check-dams and tree planting. Communities, throughout Eritrea also participate in catchment treatment and land care on a regular basis. All the above-mentioned activities point to the cardinal issue of fighting against land degradation deforestation and desertification.

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Ladies and Gentlemen!

As you can appreciate carrying programmes is one thing, evaluating their progress and impact is quite
another thing. The annual stock taking greening day is held every 15th May precisely for this purpose.

All stake-holders make intimate discussion about the pros and cons of the previous years’ performance
and the following year’s plans.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Soil and water conservation in general, and water harvesting in particular has direct bearing on the productivity of both crops and livestock and the final target of food and nutrition security. In Eritrea our strategy is to practice intensive and integrated agriculture, so that we can dedicate most of the land, especially the sloppy and drier areas to tree planting and closure establishment in order to enhance our natural resource base.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Unlike most years this year’s rainfall was very good in most parts of the country and as a result, we are expecting very good harvest. But to sustain this we have to adapt to the Changing Climate. For a comprehensive Eritrean view about climate change and the responsibilities it bestows on us please refer to our small booklet, prepared for this occasion entitled “Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture and Food Production Systems”: The Eritrean context.

I would like express my gratitude to all our partners who participate in our development efforts and appeal to them to do more.Finally, I thank the organizing committee for a job well done.

Thank you for your attention!

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