Ring-basin infiltration pits in a perma-garden. The pits help to recharge and retain groundwater.
Photo: © HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation / Patrick Rohr


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Thanks to innovative technologies, families living in semi-arid regions in northern Ethiopia manage to harvest despite less rainfall. Helvetas projects focus on sustainable watershed management, improved agricultural production and increased household incomes, thus improving the livelihood of the rural population and alleviating climate change impacts.

In the north of Ethiopia, where Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation operates, climate variability is a harsh reality for small-scale farmers who largely depend on subsistence agriculture. Over the past 40 years, changes in climate patterns have been linked to erratic, less predictable and often shorter rainy seasons.

“Nowadays, the “belg” rainy season (March to June) is weak or even missing. Today, we are left with only one rainy season, known as “kiremt” (June to September) which often begins late and ends early. As a result, agricultural production has become unreliable. The low or failed rainfall during March and April (belg season) makes it almost impossible to grow cereals during this period,” says Mrs Abeba Hagos from Negash village in the province of Tigray.

Moreover weather events in the region have also become more intense and frequent. As a result, farmers are constantly coping with the adverse impacts of climate change and variability.

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