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CCA to help farmers preserve Ethiopia’s breadbasket for future generations

25 April 2013

The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is partnering with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help small landholder farmers in Ethiopia better cope with climate change.

The Amhara region of northern Ethiopia provides much of the nation’s food needs. Deforestation, declining rainfall and unsustainable farming practices are contributing to environmental degradation in this sensitive region.

CCA will work with two local natural resource associations, Ethio-Wetlands Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) and Self Help Africa (SHA) to help 12,000 farmers learn environmentally friendly techniques to increase their economic, social and ecological resilience to climate change.

"Climate change is a critical issue in Ethiopia," says CCA Senior Director, International Development Jo-Anne Ferguson. "Farmer co-operatives are natural avenues for introducing important new knowledge and practices that help these and other vulnerable rural communities adapt to climate changes and protect and improve their livelihoods."

Farmers will be introduced to drought resistant seeds, people powered irrigation pumps, tree planting, minimum tillage practices and other conservation farming techniques that restore forests and grasslands by conserving water resources, preserving soil fertility and preventing soil erosion.

The fifteen-month project will also strengthen the capacity of farmer owned co-operative enterprises to stabilize and improve farmer livelihoods by improving the production, storage and marketing of vegetables, ground nut, linseed, and garlic that they grow and by linking farmers to sources of needed credit.

"It is appropriate to launch this climate change initiative on Earth Day," said Ms. Ferguson. "People in Canada and around the world are using the co-operative model to sustainably manage and preserve the earth’s resources for future generations."

The project has a budget of $2.128 million. Of that, $1.8 million will come from CIDA. Nearly $320,000 will be raised for the project by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.

Source: www.coopscanada.coop

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