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Explore Ethiopia
Explore Ethiopia

A Country of Many Contrasts

Norway Crown Princess Mette-Marit met with climate-savvy farmers in Ethiopia

princeETIOPIA (VG) The crown prince couple get handmade hairpins and shawls as a gift at the home of a peasant family in Oromia, while hearing about their experiences from climate-smart farming.


Norway has a close climate cooperation with Ethiopia, and an important part of the cooperation is financial support for a project for sustainable, climate-friendly agriculture, shortened to SLMP.

Therefore, visits to one of the project areas is a natural part of the official program on the Crown Prince’s three-day official visit under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There they are welcomed by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance, and shown around the area where the water is drained in canals and the lands laid in terraces to take the best product on earth.

In front of the blue-painted farmhouse, they heard about their experience with the climate project, over a good cup of Ethiopian coffee.

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Climate cooperation Norway-Ethiopia

Ethiopia has ambitious climate policy, both nationally and internationally.

The ambition is to evolve from being one of the world’s poorest countries, to become a middle-income country by 2025. At the same time, climate emissions will remain at the 2010 level.

Norway is part of the team and supports measures for reduced deforestation, forest planting and sustainable agriculture.

Norway has committed itself to contributing $ 100 million to this through the rainfall.

“For Ethiopia, climate challenge is a lot about land management. Here, a lot of the forest is chopped down. At the same time, it is very dry during large portions of the year. When there is heavy rainfall in June, July and August, there is no vegetation that can soak up the water. This causes the soil to be rinsed away, as well as major flood problems with wrecked infrastructure, explains Marianne Johansen, who is responsible for climate cooperation at the Norwegian embassy in Addis Ababa.

In addition to the forest projects, Norway has for a long time contributed about 60 million Norwegian kroner to the Sustainable Land Management Program (SLMP), which the Crown Prince visited.

The SLMP program initially started until 2018, but both the World Bank and Ethiopian authorities want to continue their work by 2025. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently decided that we will continue to contribute about 60 million at least the first three years, says Johansen.

Watercourse Areas

The agricultural program supported by Norway focuses on areas with rivers and streams that get large rainfall during the rainy season, but at the same time it is extremely dry for the rest of the year.

What you often do is to plant trees and build physical structures in the landscape that prevent the water from flowing quickly and carry a lot of soil. There are often terraces, dams and canals. Doing this in a good way helps water to sink into the ground, erosion stops, the soil stays on the field, and it prevents flooding, explains Johansen.

Vulnerable population

The Ethiopian population is very vulnerable to climate change, especially drought and less rainfall.

About 80 percent of the 100 million inhabitants in the country live hand-to-mouth farming. They produce the food they eat themselves and switch agricultural products to other goods they need.

Once a crop fails, or productivity goes down, it has major consequences when they live so directly from the ground, says Johansen.

The SLM Program that Norway supports is not just about planting trees and creating terraces that hold on to the water. It is also about creating jobs, especially for young people and women.

If we do not go with the locals, the trees will either be eaten by animals, or chopped down and used for fuel. These are actions driven by poverty. Therefore, improving the living conditions of farmers is also part of the climate measures, she explains.


Verdens Gang                                               Published: -November 8,2017