By Solomon Mekonnen
Several years back the area clothed with indigenous trees was a home for wild animals that drink from springs strewed allover the forest. But, gradually farmers began felling trees pursuant of farming lands.
This action militated against the biodiversity of the area– plants, shrubs and wild animals were destroyed for this purpose. Following this inimical trend, the once green area degraded into a denuded land.
“Residents of this locality were subject to flooding problems during summer season!” said Urgesa Teresa a resident of Abebe Doyo Kebelle in Ambo Woreda and added, “Currently, gloomy days have gone for good thanks to the salivation works done by the government and some NGO’s .
“We are sensitized on the importance of the environment, on soil conservation, and on ways of rehabilitating degraded lands after conducting discussions on conserving and protecting the area from encroachment by human beings and animals of the locality. Then, nothing short of miracles things are beginning to happen. The land resuscitated. Trees and shrubs have begun thriving. As a result we have begun to see lost wild animals, birds and bees returning back and plants flourishing. The flooding problem is contained. Exploiting the opportunity, some farmers have shifted focus to bee keeping,” said Urgessa.
Niguse Jifara is also among the farmers benefiting from bee farming. He told this reporter that previously the area was famous for honey products. “Nobody projected the damage that attended the forest clearance folly. We lost our bees and our beautiful wild animals,” he regretted.
Our productivity made a nose dive, and flood became our bad fortune during summer. Recently, however, our knowledge on the significance of environment conservation has deepened. That is why we have mobilized our community for the work of rehabilitation work–plantation, soil conservation, and the like. We have fenced off the area from both human and animal contact. At this precise moment, significant changes are being witnessed and the area is totally transformed,” he added.
Currently, they are organized into a group of 24 and their association goes by the name Dindisa Development Group. It has been engaged in bee farming since 2006 E.C.
“We had got around 5,000 Birr from the sale of honey last year and we are expecting above 7,000 Birr this year. This means a lot to us. It will be an addition to the income we generate from agriculture”, he added.
“Development agents have been supporting us so that we could scale up our productivity through using modern bee hives. Following their support, productivity has been on the rise”, he said.
Ambo Woreda Soil and Water Management Expert, Tesfaye Musa on his part said that the Wereda has got 32 rural kebelles and in each kebelle there are watershed projects. “We are undertaking water and soil conservation activities in all kebelles depending on the agro-ecology. Much has been done to create understanding among the public on the necessity of participatory environment conservation.”
“Degraded land is rehabilitating, lost springs are regenerating, the area is turning from dry to green, and water shortage problem is being thrown into the dustbin of history. We are receiving feedback from the farmers that product and productivity are increasing.”
West Shoa Zone Agriculture Office Deputy Head, Tewelde Tsegaye said that, in the zone, remarkable achievements have been registered regarding environment conservation, watershed management, soil and water conservation. We will continue to sensitize farmers through organizing training’s at Kebelle level, he added.
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