Land degradation, famine, and land resource ...

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Land degradation, famine, and land resource scenarios in Ethiopia. H. HURNI. Summary. Famines resultingfrom epidemic hunger must be seen as cultural.

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STUDIES IN APPLIEDECOLOGY ANDRESOURCE MANAGEMENT

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Annual Inputs: $x 10' 600

of Land Resource

Med, High

Cropland Size of Ethiopia

120

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Area (MiD... lI""res)

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Maximum Grazing Land

Ma.umum Arable Land fun:ip Cunency

l.oat Cunency

Runt Labour

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2000

2010

2020

2030

2040

Year

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Conclusion: Although it is possible to attain sustainable use of land resources in Ethiopia within the 50-year period, annual inputs in10 the agricultural sector have to be increased considerably, to 450 million US S. and 100 million US S have to be invested in the family planning sector. Development here has to be based on the conservation of the environment and the gmdual control of

population.

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Ecological Vulnerability to Famine: This is the only scenario where it was possible to aven an increase in ecological vulnerability in the long term, although the human and livestock population is still allowed 10 double within 50 years, but at a much lower growth rate than at present.

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Interpretation

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None of the first four scenarios was able to attain long-term sustainableuse of the land resourceson a country-widescale, despite the fact that two tried to emphasize either the environmental sector or the agricultural production sector. While the two considerablyimproved the cropland situation, either through stabilizationof the degradation problem or through higher land and crop productivity, both scenarios were unable to provide solutions for the livestock sector. A livestock crisis, with serious consequences also for cropland management in the ox-plow farming systems, Table 2.2. Total annual inputs in millions of US$ as required to attain the rates of change for the different scenarios of the land resource model (see also the Appendix) Annual input level Sector

None

Low

Medium

High

Family planning

2 3

20 25 5 50 45 5 25 75* 20 35 45 100* 15 .8 2 25*

40 50 10 100 70 25 55 150 40 65 45 150 30 25 20 75

90 100 10 200 100 40 60 200 50 100 50 200 50 50 50 150

technologies, fertilizers,

equipment,

Environmental

Agricultural

rehabilitation

development

Livestock development

FC LC RL Total FC LC RL Total FC LC RL Total FC LC RL Total

Notes: FC = foreign currency (food-for-work, expertise)

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5* 1 2

-

3 1 2

-

3 1 4

-

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LC = local currency (investments, recurrent costs for salaries, education, training, propagation) RL = rural labor (campaigns, individual works, social works. All works are valued at 1 US $ per work-day. They should be contributed at no costs, attained through participation, incentives, changes of attitudes, motivation, awareness creation, mobilization) TOTAL = total inputs required in millioll US $ per year. Those marked with * are present input levels (1988)

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Scenarios in Ethiopia

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emerged in all four scenarios after some 10-30 years. An explanation of this

problem can be found in the growth of both the human and the livestock populations, whichare closelycorrelated. More people need more land for. cultivation, and as a consequence, more cattle to safeguard land tillage operations. Only the last scenario, 'the conservation-based development' is able to 'end' with a stable situation. Here, medium inputs are made in the family planning sector as opposed to none in the other four scenarios. With annual costs of about 100mill.ionUS $, projects of family planning are propagated through extension, education, social and retirement security, motivation, propagation of contraceptives, health services, mother and child care, and other activities. Through' this, the annual population growth rate will decrease from its present level of 2.9 to 2.4% after the first 10 years, to 1.8% after 20, 1.2% after, 0.6% after 40 years, and end at zero growth after 50 years from the inception of the program. The marked difference between the last scenario and the first four is exemplifiedin Table 2.3, where population and livestocknunibers are given for all scenarios at the end of the 50-year period. It is noteworthy to realize that despite a doubling of population in the last scenario within the next 50 years, it willstill be possible to produce sufficient animal feed and food on a country-wide scale. This is a stimulation by itself. It will have its costs, however, sinceannual inputs into the rural sector will have to be redirected and increased by a factor of 2.5 from about 200 million US $ at present to about 550 million in future. In view of the fact that Ethiopia receives international support of less that 10 US $ per person per year, the African average being 18US $, strategies to stimulate an increase in foreignsupport have to be discussed,sincean.increasein the African average wouldsufficeto finance the ambitious 'conservation-based development' scenario. Table 2.3. Population and livestock numbers for various scenarios at the end of the 50-year period (2040)

Scenario

Rural population (million)

, (million TLU)

'Pre-Revolution' 'Present Day' 'Environmentalist' 'Green Revolution' 'Conservation-basedDevelopment'

173 173 173 173 88

; 86 79 78 79 41

. Livestock

Scenarios in Ethiopia

H.Hurni

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Ecological impacts on famine vulnerability can be reduced only if a packageof rural development is implemented in four main sectors, namely familyplanning, environmental rehabilitation, ana agricultural and livestock

On the other hand, if population increasesfour-fold and livestock by a factor of three, this being the present trend, sustainability of land use cannot be guaranteed any more. Not considered in the scenarios were regional differences, especially between the heavily degraded northeastern regions and the western ones, which have less damage, but are ecologically more fragile. The model could also be used for regional scenarios, if regional input data are used for rural population, land resources, and livestock numbers. Considerable differences may result for the various agro-ecological zones of Ethiopia.

development, and applied over the next 50 years at input levels much higher than at present. Different scenarios of inputs can be observed with the model. All inputs consist of foreign currency, local costs and rural labor, to be mobilized with adapted policies, participatory approaches, extension, training, and appropriate technologies. No single-focused scenario, where high inputs are made into one sector alone, will yield satisfactory benefits. A best scenario attaining sustainabilityof land resource utilizationoverthe whole 50-year period is the 'conservation-based development' scenario.

Conclusions and recommendations The impacts of ecologyon famine in Ethiopia are manifold: *

Natural factors, like climatic extremes, pests, or diseases are usually the short-term factors triggering production shortfalls,' eventually ending in famine situations.

*

Land-use factors, especially the subsistence agricultural systems

dominant in the Ethiopian context, are the main reasons \vhy famines cannot be averted with the existing exchange system of basic goods, like markets, relief organizations, or transport networks. Long-term land degradation contributes to the present low productivity status of soils, to dwindling food reserves, and to economic deterioration over generations, where innovations are no longer possible due to the high risks of survival. * Human factors, being cultural, social, political, and economic processes, are unable to overcome and reverse ecological weaknesses. * External factors such as food aid -and political and economic pressure, as well as intersystem enforcements, add to ecological issues in the creation of famines. In the short-term analysis of famine preparedness, ecological issues must

be consideredas 'matters of fact' rather than processeswhichcan be reversed easily and in a short time. In a long-term prevention strategy, however, the impacts of ecological processes on famine vulnerability must be seriously considered. Current trends of population growth, land resource utilization, environmental degradation, and livestock numbers, indicate very serious

constraints, and a sharp increase in famine vulnerability due to ecological problems in the next 10-30 years. With the model developed in this chapter,

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91

a .

There, familyplanning programs, in their broadest sense, lead to a stabilization of population growth after 50years,when the Ethiopian population will have doubled. To attain this goal, a reduction of growth rates from currently 2.9% per year to 2.4% must be achievedafter only 10 years. Environmental programs will have to be increased four-fold. Agricultural development inputs will have to double, and livestock development inputs be increased by a factor of six. The overall increase in the rural development sector will have

about 600millionUS $ per year, or 13US $ per person per year. Such inputs call for increased international assistance, and appropriate policies

to reach

,..,

and strategies of the government to attain this goal. Ecological vulnerability to famines, with such an optimum scenario, will already be reduced after 1020 years and reach a very favorable level after the 50-year period. The present model, however, cannot be used to assess other factors contributing to famine vulnerability in Ethiopia, such as economic, social, and political factors, although some of them may be closely interrelated. The scenarios used in the model are global scenarios for rural development, which will need regional interpretation and specificapplication to the different agro-ecological zones of the country. Long-term strategies to reduce famine vulnerability and to attain land-use sustainability will have to be regionalized as well, since initial inputs into the four sectors of rural development of the land resource model will greatly vary within Ethiopia, from region to region as well as within each r