Early Warning System that Empowers Pastoralists Launched

Addis Ababa: The User-Centered Integrated Rangeland and Water Monitoring and Early Warning System in Pastoral Areas of Ethiopia project has launched a system that empowers pastoralists to make informed decisions, better manage risks, and strengthen their resilience against the impacts of climate change. In his opening remark at the launching workshop of the project today, Agriculture State Minister Fikru Regassa said the project comes at a time when pastoralists are struggling to survive under recurrent droughts. Ethiopia's rangelands used by pastoralist and agro-pastoral communities cover approximately 63 percent of the country's land mass. The area has faced a total of eight major droughts in the past 15 years and experiencing the effect of climate change through increased water and forage scarcity and mass livestock death, thereby, causing food insecurity, a severe disruption to pastoralists livelihoods, and displacement of people searching for food. Therefore, the state minister said there is an urgen t need for proactive risk management solutions to ensure their survival; and in response, the ministry alongside both international and local partners, has developed a system that stands as both a technological breakthrough and a point of hope for the pastoralists. According to him, the system is critical for fostering pastoralists livelihood resilience by providing near-real-time information on water and pasture resources. Therefore, the products produced and provided by the system can play a pivotal role in preventing loss of livelihood by providing useful information that allows communities to make informed decision in remote areas. 'The development of an integrated platform that offers timely and personalized information to pastoralists, thereby enhancing livestock risk management practices through a near real-time water and pasture monitoring and early warning system, addresses these needs directly. The products of the project exemplify our dedication to prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable w ithin our innovation processes.' The system launched today symbolizes more than just technological advancement. It represents the commitment to protecting the environment, economy, and communities. Alliance of Bioversity and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) Research team leader, Sintayehu Alemayehu said the main objective of the project is to provide near real time water, pasture and climate information to livestock producers for risk management, decision making and drought planning. He added that the absence of real time information on water availability has hindered the government to make a timely decision in response to recurrent drought. 'The project that we are currently implementing is called early warning system that has a capability to predict pasture and water availability in the pastoral region of Ethiopia. We are now piloting this project in Borena, Oromia Regional State, one of the highly dominated livestock population, particularly cattle,' the research team leader sai d. The pilot project which runs for the coming two years will be expanded to Somali and Afar regional states, it was learned. Source: Ethiopian News Agency