Eritrea has continued receiving abundant and evenly distributed amount of rainfall since mid of July. Reports coming out from the country indicates rain has continued throughout the country, sometimes with a thunderstorm and an unusual amount of hail, including the one recorded yesterday as the heaviest rainfall the country has ever seen in the past 10 years.
However, getting enough rainfall alone cannot guarantee good harvest. In countries like Eritrea, agricultural activities are mostly associated to rainy season. To mitigate the growing impact of climate change on agriculture and the likelihood of the country to experience a rise in temperature and a decrease in the amount of rainfall over the coming decades, the Eritrean people, which prides itself of industriousness, is working hard as ever to capitalize on rainy seasons to avoid any kind of food and water insecurity scenarios.
Topping all other national development programs in the country, the Eritrean government gave priority to food security and has so far substantially invested on the construction of large-medium and small-scale water harvesting structures, water diversion schemes, land clearing and leveling as well as putting in place of modern irrigation systems throughout the country.
Report indicates that so far over 138 dams and micro-dams as well as around 250 ponds that have the capacity of storing 50 million cubic meter of water have been successfully constructed. This water harvesting structures, along with the advancement and widely introduced modern agricultural techniques will make the country less reliant on sporadic rainfall.
In 2009, after the country experienced inadequate amount of rainfall, the 481,084 hectares of land that was put under cultivation has yielded a very disappointing 244,160 tons of crop only. The country’s president, Isaias Afwerki, vowed to take proactive measures and to draw up plans towards ensuring a no-hunger situation nationwide for 2010.
“At a time when the greater portion of the Horn of Africa is expected to face acute food shortage, there would exist no hunger in Eritrea in 2010,” said President Isaias. [Reuters]
In 2010, the country has put 482,844 hectares of land under cultivation through both modern and traditional farming methods and also devises a means to judiciously use the harvested waters. With the satisfactory rainfall for that year, the country managed to produce a bumper harvest of around 420,654 tons (almost twice of 2009).
The year 2010 has passed with “no hunger in Eritrea” while as clearly professed by the president, the greater portion of the horn of Africa has faced acute food shortages, drought and famine of the worst proportion. Instead, Eritrea managed to sustain in the face of marginal food scarcity owing to the industriousness of its people.
Following the valuable lessons the country has drawn from last year’s accomplishments together with the promising rainy season and the introduction of modern production inputs, Eritrea is eyeing another successful bumper harvest in 2011 to enable it climb the ladder of self-sufficiency on its own.