Report


Termite infestation is symptomatic of severe land degradation in many semi-arid regions of the Nile Basin. One characteristic of land degradation is low organic matter (OM) reserves in vegetative biomass and soil. One consequence is excessive rainwater depletion through non-productive evaporation and runoff leading to low agricultural water productivity and diminished livelihoods.

CPWF research demonstrated that rapid restoration of pasture production is possible by providing manure through night corralling of cattle prior to re-seeding termite affected rangeland in Uganda. In degraded Ethiopian and Ugandan croplands, preliminary results also suggest that application of maize or sorghum stover to growing maize crops reduces termite damage and associate yield losses. Termites appear to prefer feeding on litter, manure and stover rather than on living plant material.

We hypothesize that sustainable crop and livestock production requires a minimum threshold of available dry-season ‘litter’ to avoid termite-driven destruction. We propose an integrated termite management (ITM) approach that involves establishment of sufficient OM reserves to sustain termites and other ecosystems services. One anticipated consequence is enabling termites to resume their beneficial roles in promoting nutrient recycling, infiltration and aeration of soil.

In this context, ITM requires an appropriate mix of relevant bio-physical and socio-economic interventions. Besides providing water for animal and crop production, the process of rebuilding OM reserves on degraded termite affected rainfed agricultural land requires additional water. We anticipate that the long-term results of increasing OM reserves will be higher agricultural water productivity, increased crop and animal production and improved livelihoods.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

Waterlogged Vertisols are amongst the high potential soils where management interventions could result in positive impacts.

This study utilized soil, climate and crop and livestock productivity data and models to demonstrate intensification strategies which increase crop–livestock system productivity and to understand the effects of alternative land use and water management options on water productivity in the Vertisols areas.

The areas have been classified into three slope classes including areas where artificial drainage is not feasible, where Broad Bed and Furrows (BBF) can be used to drain the excess water and naturally drained areas, represented by areas with 0–2%, 2–5% and over 5% slope steepness, respectively. Early planting of wheat (Triticum spp) using BBF on drainable areas and rice (Oryza sativa) or grasspea (Lathyrus sativus) on the flat areas were compared with the traditional practices. Yield and biomass data were obtained from research stations in the area whilst the effective rainfall and crop water requirement were estimated using CROPWAT Model. The feed value of the native grass and crop straw was estimated based on previous works.

With respect to effective rainfall, the water productivity increase due to BBF over the control ranged from 5 to 200%, with an average increase of 57%. Despite higher water consumption of the rice, feeding its residues to livestock enhanced the overall economic water productivity of the system over the natural grazing or grasspea cultivation. Consequently, use of BBF enables growing high value or food crops of choice that may be sensitive to waterlogging whilst tolerant crops can be grown on flat lands allowing utilization of the full growing period. Coupled with livestock integration into the system, the alternatives can enhance food production and resource use efficiency from these ‘marginal’ areas.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

The current paper discusses the use of hydrological modelling tool to understand sustainable land management interventions in the Blue Nile basin of Ethiopia.

A micro-watershed named Mizewa with a drainage area of 27 km2 in Fogera district was selected and instrumented with hydrological cycle observation networks in the year 2011. The SWAT hydrological modelling tool was used to simulate landscape-wide Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) investments.

Simulations of the selected investments modelled in this analysis suggest that improvements in infiltration, decreases in surface runoff and decreases in erosion are achievable in the watershed. Further simulations suggest that a landscape-wide approach of terrace and bund construction has the greatest effect in terms of decreasing surface runoff, decreasing sediment yield and increasing groundwater flow and shallow aquifer recharge.

A comprehensive landscape investment of terraces on slopes greater than 5% and bunds maintained on slopes less than 5% would decrease surface flow by almost 50%, increase groundwater flow by 15% and decrease sediment yield from erosion by 85%. However, constructing terraces in areas with greater than 5% slope (without constructing bunds in areas under 5% slopes) has a similar effect whereby surface flow and sediment yield decreases by 45 and 83%, respectively and groundwater flow increases by 13%. Residue management also has a significant effect on surface flow and erosion in the Mizewa watershed. Average annual surface flow decreased 17 when adopting residue management on all agricultural land and 26% when coupling terracing on steep slopes with residue management in mid-range slopes.

These analyses provide the foundation for understanding feasible outcomes given a more comprehensive investment strategy. Results stemming from the current work can be paired with household level socio-economic data in order to assess program investment alternatives taking into account household constraints to Sustainable Land and Watershed Management (SLWM) investment and maintenance on private and public lands.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

Although Ethiopia has a large potential to develop irrigation, only 5% of the 3.5 million hectares of land potentially available has been developed. To examine the underlying causes, this study evaluates the suitability of surface water irrigation for the Lake Tana Basin development corridor.

Surface water availability and land potentially suitable for medium and large-scale irrigation development (200 ha and larger) was considered. Surface water potential was examined by considering river discharges. Land suitable for irrigation was determined with a GIS-based multi-criteria evaluation (MCE), which considers the interaction of various factors, such as climate, river proximity, soil type, land cover, topography/slope and market outlets.

The result indicates that nearly 11% of the Lake Tana Basin is suitable for surface irrigation. However, by analysing 27 years of river discharge, less than 3% of the potential irrigable area (or less than 0.25% of the basin area) could be irrigated consistently by run-of-the river-systems. Thus, the irrigation potential in the Lake Tana Basin can only be met by increasing dry season flows (if proven feasible) and by supplying water from existing or future reservoirs or by using water directly from Lake Tana.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

The reasons why farmers are unable to harness the benefits embedded in technologies and take advantage of business opportunities in livestock sector in developing countries remain unresolved.

Drawing on insights from innovation systems approaches, this paper assesses innovation constraints, identifies the bottlenecks and missing links in dairy sector and suggests some instruments needed to address the constraints.

We find that missing actors, limited capacity of existing actors, inadequate interactions between actors and poor coordination of activities along dairy value chain have been the major reasons for low technology adoption and underdevelopment of the dairy sub-sector in developing countries.

Future research should pay attention to designing, prototyping and experimenting with alternative institutional arrangements that can effectively coordinate inputs, services, processes and outputs in livestock value chains.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

Using a multi-criteria optimization technique for system analysis, this paper quantitatively characterizes baseline production activities, resource management and environmental relationships of the mixed crop–livestock farming system at the Jaba micro-watershed, upper Blue Nile Basin, to get insights that inform sustainable intensification of small-scale agriculture.

The paper characterizes and models system relationships at a landscape scale under the business as usual land use and resource management scenario (including rainwater management), in the light of social, economic and environmental sustainability indicators (employment, farm income and sediment loss and water generation, respectively). The analysis is based on an optimization technique that weighs the socio-economic and environmental costs and benefits of current land use and resource management practices at spatial and temporal scales, using farm level survey data.

The results show that, under the business as usual scenario, the crop sub-sector will remain the major source of farm income and rural employment. Agricultural income, though trending positively, will not significantly drift from its current level, indicating the limited possibility for rural income growth from agricultural activities under the current pattern of land use, resource management and socio-economic circumstances.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

The main objective of this research was to study soil erosion and sediment yield in Mizewa watershed using SWAT model.

The study involved hydrological and erosion modelling using primary data collected in the watershed. Hydrological and meteorological data were collected from the stations installed in the watershed by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Energy and the National Meteorological Service Agency.

Suspended sediment data was collected at Mizewa River in the watershed, used for sediment rating curve development. The land use/ land cover map was prepared using field survey and Land Sat image and the soil map for the watershed was prepared from Abay basin soil as per the United Nations’ Organisation for Food and Agriculture (FAO)’s world soil database.

The average monthly soil loss was estimated in July with pick suspended sediment concentration despite the pick flow and sediment yield at the outlet being recorded in August – which is believed to happen due to the sediment data developed by the sediment rating curve. The predicted rate of soil loss and sediment yield at the subbasins and watershed outlet were high, leading to consider the watershed as an erosion-sensitive area according to Setegn (2009) and Hurni (1985)’s criteria of erosion sensitivity.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

Understanding the basic relationships between rainfall, runoff, soil moisture and ground water level are vital for an effective and sustainable water resources planning and management activities. But so far there is no hydrological study in Meja watershed that aims to understand the watershed characteristics and runoff generation processes.

This study was conducted to understand runoff generation processes and model rainfall runoff relationship in Meja watershed having a drainage area of 96.6 km2. The watershed is one of the three research sites of International Water Management Institute (IWMI) developed in early 2010 in the upper Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia. In the study, primary data of soil moisture, shallow ground water level, rainfall and runoff were collected from the hydrological monitoring network in the watershed.

Hydrological models like HBV and RRL SMAR were configured to understand the relationship between rainfall and runoff in the watershed. Relationships between rainfall, soil moisture, shallow ground water level and discharge were developed to understand runoff generation processes in the watershed.

According to one year and three months data, there is no strong daily rainfall and runoff relationship (r2 <0.5) in Meja and Kolu which is a nested sub-watershed; this may be due to abstractions such as irrigation and human interventions in the watershed. There is a strong linear relationship of rainfall and monthly averaged volumetric soil moisture in most layers of Meja and its nested sub-watersheds. The general relationship between runoff and monthly averaged soil moisture at different layers in Meja watershed and Kolu is strong and linear. Analysis of rainfall runoff models indicated better performance of HBV than RRL SMAR model.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

This paper calls attention to the importance of social cooperation in irrigation farming. It argues that a mere focus on the technical aspect of irrigation, disregarding its social aspects undermines the long-term benefits of irrigation to rural livelihoods.

This assertion draws on lessons from small-irrigation practices in Fogera, in the Blue Nile Basin of Ethiopia, where the research conducted fieldwork-based qualitative research. In recent years irrigation farming has drawn a growing interest among farmers in rural Fogera. Farmers practise small-scale irrigation that includes traditional irrigation and motor pump irrigation. Farmers assert that irrigation has brought farming benefits through cultivation of more crops as well as new crops that serve food and cash purposes. Such benefits have particularly spurred the enthusiasm for motor pump irrigation.

However, the practice of motor pump irrigation largely relies on the motor-pump technology, overlooking the social scheme of irrigation. While traditional irrigation involves more social cooperation involving joint activities, water allocations and irrigation schedules, lack of social cooperation and such institutional conditions is widespread in motor pump irrigation. Local classification of irrigation practices also associate the mechanism of irrigation use and management including water use regulations and water use turns with traditional irrigation in contrast to motor pump irrigation.

The neglect of social cooperation within current practices of motor pump irrigation will have significant adverse implications on long-term practices. Farmers have been already concerned about how competitions for water are growing, limiting the duration of water availability and creating water shortage.

The study suggests that while farmers’ willingness to practise motor pump irrigation in Fogera has been stimulated by its livelihood benefits, sustained benefits of this irrigation scheme require social cooperation and feasible institutional conditions that can mediate water usage across user villages.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

Lack of long-term hydrological monitoring makes it difficult to determine impacts of changing land use on the water dynamics for many catchments in Africa.

Here we use local ecological knowledge (LEK) to explore the impacts of rapid expansion of eucalyptus agroforestry on water security in the Ethiopian highlands. Local knowledge about the impacts of changes in tree cover was collected from farmers (n = 30), extension staff (n = 2) and timber merchants (n = 2) in five kebeles within the Jeldu woreda.

Jeldu has undergone significant land use change over the last forty years. The area was heavily deforested 20 years ago and farmers associate this time with a major change in the water dynamics. Recently the development of a new road to Goja, the main town, opened up the area as a source of timber for Addis Ababa. This has resulted in a substantial expansion of eucalyptus plots adjacent to roads on the upper plateau and in riparian areas where growth is accelerated. Poorer farmers have been displaced on to the sloping land (which used to be woodland) where there is now evidence of rapid soil degradation.

The key findings were that farmers identified significant trade-offs at the plot scale between eucalyptus and adjacent crop fields. They also identified indicators suggesting the sudden increase in eucalyptus cover had accelerated declines in water availability at landscape scales.

The study showed the value of using LEK for exploring immediate landscape scale dynamics in the absence of hydrological monitoring. Whilst there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding the impacts of eucalyptus, this research demonstrated local awareness associated of problems associated with unregulated expansion of eucalyptus woodlots on the water regulating capacity at immediate landscape scales in the Ethiopian highlands.

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This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.

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