Scholars acknowledge revised policy importance

BY MULATU BELACHEW

 ADDIS ABABA – The Ministry of Agriculture stated that Ethiopia has made clear and trusted policy revision regarding Lowland and Pastoralist communities that could profoundly facilitate inclusive development and enhance the pastoralists’ livelihood sustainably.

Forwarding his idea in ‘Addis Weg’ Round Table discussion, which was held on 14th January, 2021, at the Prime Minister’s Office in the presence of various stakeholders, Crop Development State Minister with the ministry, Mandefro Nigussie (Ph.D.) said that the revised policy has opened multiple means of financial accessibility for actors of a number of sectors, which have the right to form Agriculture Bank that provide investors with credit.

He further said that it is crucial to implement sustainable development options in a way that preserves the pastoral lifestyle of the communities and takes climate change into account. Cotton and wheat crops, for example, have been successfully harvested three times a year in pastoral areas.

The discussion explored the existing livelihood of pastoralists, the benefits and challenges of the policies implemented over the years, and the ongoing efforts to ensure sustainable development and the benefits of the community.

 He also said Minister of Agriculture has been revising urban and rural agricultural policies and strategies in the manner that boost sustainable development socially, economically and environmentally.

“But now, we’re focusing on mobilizing the resource in a bid to save costs, energy and time that pastoralists have paid for through going to resource area. Hence, it requires scientific knowledge to invest and utilize the abundant resources in the area to change the communities’ life as well as ensure sustainable national development.

Citing the challenges and positive aspects of pastoralist policies over the past decade, Irrigation and Basin Development Expert Abdurahman Eid Tahir said the resettlement of pastoralists which is believed to simplify administration and reduce security concerns can play insignificant role for sustainable national growth.

The development activities that can be considered positive are the attempts to improve the literacy rate of the pastoralist community and enable Ethiopia and neighboring countries to improve the production of forage, he added.

Honey Hassen, Consultant on Agricultural Economy said that pastoralists located in different areas have differing living conditions, structures and interests, and hence development plans and policies should consider these existing conditions.

When there are investment activities taking place in the area where they are located, first it must be examined weather it is pastoralists’ blind, neutral, or sensitive which would have positive influence in changing living condition of the community while contributing significantly for the country’s development, she said.

Livelihood mobility and community mobility is the core thing in shaping pastoralists policy and strategy that would foster holistic sustainable development  because it takes pastoralists right demand in to account.

The pastoralists have diversified knowledge and resource that have been traditionally capitalized. Hence, the government has to be close with them to utilize this resource in scientific ways to benefit all.

The pastoralists are living at every corner of the country but due to the governments less attention for market access, resources are exported informally without benefiting them and the country. Hence, creating good system which can solve the problem is a collective assignment of the government and stakeholders, she ascribed.

Wondimu Takele, Water and Irrigation Commission, Commissioner said that the country has planned to irrigate some 65, 000 hectares this year. He also added there are still more lands to be integrated.

Participants from minister of peace said that the recently formulated Pastoralists policy and strategy is well revised through the participation of targeted communities and concerned bodies in its designing stages.

“We have huge resource, but it is not well utilized due to poor execution potential and limited infrastructure and financial constraints,” participant cited.

The Ethiopian  Herald  19 January 2021

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