The infiltration properties of the upslope has changed : less water infiltrates, there is more run-off and therefore more erosion and ground water does not recharge. The lack of trees on the slope can explain to a large extend why watersheds are getting dryer.
|a typical Ethiopian landscape with only very little forest|
Motivating farmers on the upslopes to plant trees is difficult as there are only very little benefit from the trees for the farmers who plants them, but there are benefits for downstream farmers. Basically there are two options to approach the problem. Or one develops a benefit sharing mechanism where the downstream farmer compensate the farmers upstream for loosing its crop land for trees, which is very difficult in the Ethiopian context, or one finds solutions that are profitable for the upstream farmers.
|Apple in Laku watershed (Shambu)|
Multipurpose trees can provide high quality fodder during the dry season (when there is shortage of fodder) allowing upstream farmers to intensify there livestock production. (for more information see : http://catherinepfeifer.blogspot.com/2012/06/changing-livelihoods-at-very-little.html)
The second option is fruit trees, like apple and peaches in the highlands or mango and papaya in the lowlands. These are interesting options because fruits allows farmer to diversify their diets as well as their income.
This second option has been recognized by NGOs and has been pushed in different locations in Ethiopia, and farmers are more and more aware of fruit trees as a diversfication option.
During the field work in the four watersheds (http://catherinepfeifer.blogspot.com/2012/05/understanding-landscape-dynamics-zefie.html) , all the farmers wanted to have some fruit trees, some had it and could harvest, some just planted trees and cannot harvest yet, others only wished they could access seedlings.
Let's look at these different stages, hopes, illusions and disillusions in each of the fruit tree implementations stages.
In the Gorosole watershed (Ambo), farmers do not have fruit trees but have heart of it. They would like to have apples and peaches because they believe it could be a new source of income. Unfortunately they don't know how to access seedlings nor have sufficient knowledge to grow the trees.
|The apple tree planted this year in Zefie watershed|
|The 3 years old apple tree in Zefie (does not give apples yet)|
|Papaya trees in Maksenit watershed|
Finally Shambu watershed produces apples. Seedlings have been introduced 10 years ago by an NGO and some farmers today have an apple orchard on their farms. The farmer i have talked to runs his own apple tree nursery and sells some of the seedling to other farmers in the area. Each year he extends his orchards with new trees. In this way he can level his loss of land. He can get incomes from older apple trees, and therefore can afford to loose some cropland for new apple trees that will take 5-7 years to give apple.
|the apple orchard in Shambu|
Whereas for many farmers who do not yet harvest yet, fruits are a symbol of hope. But the reality in Shambu shows that it is actually an illusion. The only farmer that really could harvest apples was disillusioned.
|the apple tree nursery|