Gash Barka Livestock and Agricultural Development
The Gash Barka project area covers 27 per cent of the country’s total land area. Small-scale herders and farmers in the region are poor because their incomes depend on crops and livestock that are not profitable, and they have few other income-generating opportunities. The climate is harsh, and rainfall is limited and unreliable. Droughts cause partial or complete crop failure as often as one out of every three years. In years when crops fail, people are forced to sell their livestock and other assets so their families can survive. About half of the population depends on food aid.
The project supports investments in livestock and crop production enterprises benefiting 16,000 households.
The region has been adversely affected by the recent conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Households lost many assets, including tools and cattle, infrastructure was destroyed and seasonal migration of livestock has been disrupted.
Under the project, improvements in grazing and farming include establishment of exclusion areas and communal management of rangeland. The project supports infrastructure works such as the building of water points, diversion of rivers and small streams and water harvesting for supplementary irrigation.
The project will also improve people’s access to drinking water and medical services, including measures to combat malaria and tuberculosis and to improve health care for mothers and children.
Because of the difficult post-conflict environment, the project has been slow to gather momentum. By June 2005 about 20 per cent of total funds had been disbursed.