Adaptive Management to reduce Tsetse fly populations and Trypanosomiasis infection in Ethiopia.

Place: ethiopia, Africa
Sustainable development of small rural communities Sustainable development of small rural communities
Total Budget: € 230.000,00 | Period: From January 2006 To December 2010


The general objective of the Project is to provide a contribution to the improvement of livestock health conditions in some areas of the Gurage region (Ethiopia) improving population socio-economic conditions. In particular, a method of management of Tsetse infestation (a group of Diptera including mostly in the genus Glossina) - vector of Protozoa pathogens responsible for serious diseases, including those related to Trypanosomiasis – was promoted providing accessible and inexpensive techniques, managed directly by the local populations, while maintaining a high efficiency of the operating system. The principles of adaptive management were adopted. From what has been observed, the abundance of populations of Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis prevalence of bovine was attenuated and zootechniques productivity was improved allowing an increase in the number of cattle destined to agriculture.


The University of Molise - Italy

Lead applicant

The University of Molise is composed of 6 Dept. involved in research and teaching, whose areas are the following: Dept. of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences; Dept. of Economics, Management, Society and Institutions; Dept. of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences; Dept. of Biosciences and Territory; Dept. of Law; Dept. of Medicine and Health Sciences. Both in research and teaching areas the University of Molise is active in international programs, among which LLP for students, teachers and staff mobility for study and placement (e.g. Erasmus)and adult education, especially in the field of active and European citizenship, intergenerational learning and social inclusion. The University counts 4 University campuses, 9000 students, 105 PhD students and about 600 among teaching and non-teaching staff. The University of Molise, moreover, counts 19 Scientific Centers and it is equipped with several laboratories, multimedia and language labs, a rich library, and a sports center.

Center for the Analysis of Sustainable Agro-ecological Systems - United States

Initiative partner

CASAS (Center for Analysis of Sustainable Agro-ecological Systems) is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to analyzing issues in diverse crops, rangelands and medical and veterinary vectors to benefit populations and governments in developing countries worldwide. A comprehensive, ecosystem-level analyses allow donor organizations and international agencies to more effectively focus limited resources on solutions to critical problems of food production and environmental, human and veterinary health. CASAS Global NGO is a consortium of natural resource scientists who share a common interest in finding solutions to ecological, social and economic problems affecting agriculture and natural resource management. The consortium seeks to provide a platform for collaboratively assessing such problems in a manner that complements the goals of society and the academic and research institutions to which some members belong.

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology - Kenya

Initiative partner

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) is an intergovernmental organization funded by governmental aid agencies, UN organizations and private foundations to carry out research and training in human, animal, plant and environmental health. ICIPE develops new tools and strategies for arthropod management. Its centre-wide goals are: create knowledge, building capacity, develop policy, reduce poverty. ICIPE is engaged in 'tropical insect science for development'. ICIPE searches for 'effective prevention and smart cures' to promote food security, sustainable livelihoods, good health and sustainable use of natural resources. ICIPE develops solutions that are appropriate, affordable, accessible and acceptable. ICIPE searches for and develops environmentally safe integrated pest and vector management options that eschew the use of pesticides and synthetic chemicals. ICIPE builds capacity of individuals and institutions to solve their own problems.

Bioeconomy Africa - Ethiopia

Initiative partner

BEA (previously known as Bioeconomy Association) was established in Ethiopia to promote and replicate the Bioeconomy system with health improvement packages, climate change adaptation/mitigation concepts and initiatives on poverty alleviation. The model farm called Biofarm is used as a model teaching center for students/farmers coming from all corners of the country. The Farmer Academy was developed to assure capacity building for Ethiopian rural farmers on biofarming. Currently BEA is established in four African countries (Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, D.R. of Congo, Kenya) with Projects funded by United Nations International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has a cooperation agreement with the African Union. In 2011 BEA together with UNDP established the African Bioeconomy Capacity Development Institute, a capacity building centre providing master farmer programs, operational research and development programs.

University of Milan - Italy

Initiative partner

This initiative describes a successful experience of Tsetse flies eradication in the Area of Luke, South-Western Ethiopia. Tsetse flies transmit Trypanosomiasis, an animal (and possible human, i.e. the sleeping sickness) disease which causes detrimental effects to livestock, agricultural production and local community. A new way to control Tsetse adult fly populations was developed, optimizing the use of particular traps, constructed and maintained in a sustainable way. Environmentally friendly approaches locally assured socio-ecological sustainability. By adopting an adaptive management scheme, traps were used in Tsetse hot spots identified by statistical tools, to reduce their number and maintain the same efficiency. By involving local community and following scientific findings, disease prevalence has been reduced from 30% to 6%. The community still benefit from Project’s outcomes and food security is in a healthier position than 1995, when the first Project in the area started.

The main innovation developed was an adaptive management scheme that consists of a process of optimal decision making. This means using simple tools, particular traps baited with cow urine, to monitor and control Tsetse adult flies populations and dynamics in an efficient and sustainable way. Put simply: using geo-statistical methods, spatial maps were produced to identify the Tsetse flies high fly density ‘hot spots’. These areas were submitted to sustainable control: place the lowest but most effective number of traps in hot spot locations, to catch as many Tsetse adult flies as possible and at the same time encourage farmers to move cattle away from the hot spots. Thus, the method’s effectiveness was improved.
The Project adopted a multi-disciplinary approach and a community mobilization strategy. To implement the activity and assure its sustainability in the long run, local farmers, organized into teams, were responsible for monitoring and maintenance of the traps effectiveness.

3D Luke map Example of a 3-dimensional map of the Luke area in the Gibe Valley (Ethiopia). The villages are located on the top of the plateau. The control operations were carried out inside the white rectangle. Tsetse adults hot spots are highlighted in red color
ICIPE team at work The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) team, composed of local entomologists and veterinarians, had the fundamental task of coordinating and supervising the field work in Luke area (Ethiopia), including identifying and checking Tsetse adult flies caught in the traps. The Project’s implementation followed a participative approach, with local and international scientists working together with local communities
Tsetse distribution Example of distributional map obtained during the monitoring of Tsetse adult fly populations in the Luke area (Ethiopia). Hot spot positions are easily recognizable. These maps represented the basis of the adaptive management approach. They facilitate the identification of the areas characterized by the highest presence of adult flies (i.e. hot spots). Spatial dynamics can be observed by recording distributional changes during time (from Sciarretta et al., 2005 – Journal of Medical Entomology, 42 (5): 1006-1019 and Sciarretta et al., 2010 - Bulletin of Entomological Research, 100: 661-670)
../file-system/small/ppt ../file-system/small/ppt Adaptive Management strategy The slide explains how the adaptive strategy works: 215 odor baited monitoring traps yielded biweekly catches, that were compiled, transformed, subjected to geostatistical interpolation and put on the map shown above, to guide the deployment of 24 control traps. The results lead to the development of an optimized system of monitoring trap deployment and control trap operations, leading to the eradication of tsetse fly from the Luke area

Throughout the African Continent Tsetse flies and Trypanosomiasis pose a major constraint to livestock and crop production. This dictates the pace and pattern of economic development and causes unbalanced and insecure food supplies. In addition, it could increase the risk of human-infective forms, i.e. sleeping sickness, further affecting human health and socioeconomic development.
Livestock plays a crucial role in agricultural production – as draught power for ploughing and food source – therefore alleviation or removal of livestock health constraints are prerequisites for local food security and sustainable development. The presence of Tsetse flies in certain areas has environmental and geographical impact. Livestock is not used in fertile but Tsetse-concentrated valleys in the Western and South-Western parts of Ethiopia, forcing human and livestock population to live in Tsetse-free but ecologically fragile highlands. This results in land degradation, loss of resources and poverty. 

Arid land in Luke (Ethiopia) In Gurage region (Ethiopia), during the dry season, the land is arid and the vegetation parched. Numerous fires destroy large areas and wooded savannah becomes smaller and smaller. Down in the Valley and approaching the Gibe River, temperatures rise to over 40 degrees. This increases the prevalence of various insect-borne diseases, such as malaria and Trypanosomiasis vectored by the Tsetse fly.
Dead ox Trypanosomiasis is one of the major diseases of livestock. Sick animals become listless, they lag behind the herd and lose interest in their surroundings. In areas where reinfection is frequent, death will commonly occur within one to three months, unless the animal is treated with a trypanocide. This disease is found throughout Ethiopia with the exception of the highlands; more than 10 million of the national herd of cattle are affected or at risk of infection at any one time.
Tukul in Luke village, Ethiopia The village of Luke, as is common in the region, mainly consists of tukuls, cone-shaped mud huts, usually with a thatched roof. This is the common dwelling of families in many rural regions of Ethiopia.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control This document, prepared by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP), introduces the problem of Tsetse flies and animal Trypanosomiasis in Africa (http://www.unep.org/training/programmes/Instructor%20Version/Part_2/Activities/Human_Societies/Agriculture/Supplemental/Tsetse_and_Trypanosomiasis_Control.pdf)

This community based strategy through simple technology has allowed an adaptive management system to an old problem that needed new solutions.
The direct results produced by the Project’s activities can be usefully highlighted by using the following simple indicators:
1. Reduction of Tsetse fly population levels
2. Disease Trypanosomiasis prevalence reduced to 6%
3. Increased calving rates
The results of the Project have also been overwhelmingly positive in addressing poverty issues and the challenge of food security by enabling:
1. Increased milk and meat production
2. Increase in arable land and crop production
3. Increased per capita income in Luke community
4. Building and growing attendance of a local school
5. Training and further education of the community
Farmers are benefitting and, from a knock-on effect, the whole community is benefitting:
Fewer Tsetse flies → Increased cattle activity and population → Better standard of living for community 

Milk production Cows are the main source of milk production in Ethiopia. The majority of milking cows are indigenous animals who have low production performance. The average age of first calving is 53 months and average calving intervals are 25 months. The milk production is directly related to the cow’s health, strongly affected by tsetse flies.
Teff harvesting Teff is the only fully-domesticated cereal member of the genus Eragrostis. Its seeds are tiny (less than 1mm diameter), and this makes teff ideally suited to semi-nomadic life in areas of Ethiopia and Eritrea where it has long thrived. Teff accounts for about a quarter of total cereal production in Ethiopia and is gaining popularity in many other countries as a gluten-free cereal. Its production is strongly dependent by animal power employed to plough the land.
Trapped Tsetse flies The effectiveness of traps as control tools depends on their rate of removal of adult flies from the existing population. Evidence from field studies and theoretical work indicates a linear relationship between tsetse density and the likelihood of Trypanosomiasis transmission. Trap deployment can therefore be recommended as a component of measures to control and prevent Trypanosomiasis epidemics.
../file-system/small/ppt ../file-system/small/ppt Socio-economic impacts Table illustrating the main project results (from Getachew Tikubet et al., 2006 – Boll. Zool. Agr. Bachic., 38 (3): 225-236).
../file-system/small/ppt ../file-system/small/ppt Tsetse and tryp trend Tsetse fly and tripanosomiasis trend in Luke, from 1995 to 2006 (from Getachew Tikubet et al., 2006 – Boll. Zool. Agr. Bachic., 38 (3): 225-236)

The Project's direct beneficiaries are the farmers and people of the Luke agro-pastoral communities. The Tsetse population and prevalence of Trypanosomiasis were damaging the health and productivity of livestock. As a result, agro-pastoral productivity, poverty levels and food security conditions in the area were dramatically challenged.
In Ethiopia, opportunities for alternative income generation are constrained. Thus, animal health improvement is critical to food security. It must be considered a key component of integrated, community-based human health and poverty alleviation schemes: livestock not only act as a direct food source but also as a source of income and food via agricultural production.
As a consequence, the success of this Project meant the Luke local community has become the indirect beneficiary. Higher levels of socioeconomic well-being are visible as the already cited building and growing attendance of a local school successfully indicate.

Farmer and family Families in rural areas of Ethiopia suffer from difficult living conditions, due to poor sanitation and limited access to clean water. Child mortality under 5 years is very high (166 in a 1000) with 10% of children not surviving beyond their first year.
Injera local food The injera is the staple dish of Ethiopian cuisine and is prepared with flour obtained from teff, a cereal native to the Ethiopian highlands. It represents the basic food for tens of millions of farmers in rural areas.
Oxon ploughing land In rural areas of Ethiopia, mechanization is still very limited. The livestock is of strategic importance to farmers, because they are used to plough the fields. The animal and the family are strongly dependent on each other. The health and subsequent loss of an animal is critical to the survival of the whole family.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Biovision Annual Report Model biofarm helps against tsetse flies: some interviews with local farmers benefitting from the Project outcomes replicated in another Ethiopian region.

This initiative has seen the direct involvement of the international scientific community, Ethiopian NGOs, the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture extension workers, the local Community and the farming associations in Gurage.
Before operations commenced, a number of meetings were held with the workers from the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, the local community and the local farmer association leaders. Agreements were reached on the activities to be carried out.
Yeha Natural Resource Management Institute (YNRMI) and BioEconomy Africa (BEA) team provided the initial training to farmers on how to set-up, maintain, move and check the Tsetse traps. Tsetse adult flies collected from the traps were directly checked by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) staff, together with local farmers.
About 75 farmers were involved in the field activities, divided into 12 groups, each with a leader,  coordinated by ICIPE staff.

Farmers technicians tsetse control ICIPE team worked closely with local farmers who, during the project, were trained to maintain traps and check Tsetse flies by themselves. After one year, farmers were able, without help, to recognize Tsetse adults from other flies. Farmers had the fundamental role of maintaining the traps, renewing the cow urine, check biweekly for Tsetse in the trap cages. After they understood the importance of fighting flies to protect cattle, the farmers were dedicated and excellent in this role.
International staff visit During the project implementation, partners from University of Molise (Italy), University of Milano (Italy) and Center for the Analysis of Sustainable Agro-ecological Systems (USA) visited the Luke area (Ethiopia) several times for a better comprehension of critical aspects. Scientific and practical outcomes from the discussions with local scientists and farmers allowed a significant improvement for the achievement of the Project’s objectives.
../file-system/small/ppt ../file-system/small/ppt Project human resources A chart illustrating the organization of partners involved in the Project.

From the beginning, community awareness and knowledge dissemination represented a relevant difficulty the Project had to deal with. In fact, the identification of the Tsetse population as a key constraint for economic development was not straightforward: farmers and local community were not able to link the cattle disease with the presence of Tsetse flies. Furthermore, limited knowledge and experience on the requirements of the applied adaptive management methodology hindered the collection and sharing of data. This highlighted the importance of community involvement and education. Without the community, the Project’s results and effectiveness would have been put at risk.
To overcome these problems, various information events for the local community were organized with the help of local organisations and institutions that represented, and still represent, the key actors to promote education and raise awareness of initiatives.  

Children learning at Biofarm In Ethiopia education gaps in rural communities are a major constraint for livelihood improvement and poverty reduction. Children are trained in the Biofarm with a hands-on approach to simply show them the basics of agriculture.
Local meetings Before the beginning of the Project, it had been fundamental to organize public meetings, with the Ethiopian local communities, national NGOs, the Ministry of Agriculture extension workers and the farming associations, to better understand their needs and to provide information about the impact of the project. This preliminary step strengthened the project implementation, as the local people fully understood and accepted the project aims and activities.

The approach used to control Tsetse flies is environmentally friendly as a result of materials used to assemble the traps and how they function. In the past, techniques such as bush and ground clearance were used but were negatively affecting biodiversity. Unsustainable and damaging chemical pollution was killing non-target organisms and habitat being destroyed. The current traps baited with cow urine prevent local biodiversity from deterioration.
Side effects have also been considered: decreased number of Tsetse flies and Trypanosomiasis resulted in more land cultivated and more livestock for grazing. Changes in farming capacities were having reverse effects on local sustainable development: land over-stocking, exploitation  and soil degradation. To achieve complete sustainability, maintain local eco-system equilibrium and enhance its resilience, whilst keeping low Tsetse levels, biofarming techniques were disseminated in a framework of adaptive management approach implementation.

Insecticidal spraying Use of insecticides applied extensively to natural vegetation was a largely utilized method to kill tsetse flies in the past. Due to many side effects this approach impinged on non target organisms and biodiversity. Pesticides are applied only locally, for example directly over attractive targets or on the cattle.
Soil erosion Soil erosion and degradation are currently one of the most pressing problems in Ethiopia, concurring in determining negative effects on the agricultural production. Rapid population growth, cultivation on steep slopes, clearing of vegetation, and overgrazing are the main factors that accelerate soil erosion especially in highlands.
../file-system/small/ppt ../file-system/small/ppt Ecosocial model During the Project, an ecosocial model was prepared to understand the interactions, in the Luke community, between ecological, social and economic capitals and to delimit the space where the three capitals positively interact (green space in model 1), giving rise to a sustainable development. Biofarming activities were applied with the aim to promote such a sustainable development, thus trying to enlarge the green area. (from Baumgärtner et al., 2008 – Ecological Economics, 65: 125-135).

This Project, funded by Italian Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca (Programma Interlink), is one in a series involving the Luke community (Ethiopia). Beginning in 1995 they continue to this day building upon the Project’s results, e.g. related projects coordinated by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and funded by Swiss NGOs Biovision and Helvetas:
- Roll Back Tsetse & Trypanosomiasis Initiative in East Africa
- Bio-Village Project, Gurage Zone, Ethiopia
The project was replicated also in Asosa (Ethiopia), funded by Benshangul-Gumuz Regional Government. In 2000 Bioeconomy Africa established Biofarm. The adaptive management approach has been expanded with the direct involvement of the Ethiopian government in farmers’ training and education; a Farmers Academy was independently funded . By 2014, 10 Biofarm models were functioning in Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mozambique with plans of further expansion. 

Biogas production Biofarm is a teaching farm where nature conservation, renewable energies and organic agriculture are applied. They combine science and evidence-based approach to sustainable livelihood, based on recycling, whilst minimizing external inputs in the form of fertilizers and pesticides. Thousands of farmers are trained here to learn simple agricultural techniques and apply them into their fields. A key component is the biogas production, where cow dung and urine is transformed in energy and compost.
Cattle and traps Tsetse traps, baited with urine of cows, and targets (insecticide-impregnated screens) function by attracting the adult flies to a device that collects and/or kills them. These have the advantages of being cost-effective; they can be used by local labor, are harmless to the environment and can be used for monitoring and control purposes. To have highest impact on Tsetse populations, traps and targets need to be maintained by local communities along with some technical input.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Biofarm information leaflet The Biofarm Consortium promotes community based Tsetse-Trypanosomiasis adaptive management and biofarming in Africa

Agricultural production in Ethiopia greatly benefits from increases in the provision of scientifically supported, practical knowledge.
On this basis, the Project's results and training activities were included in the Farmers Academy initiative, promoted by some of the Project’s Partners, research Institutes, the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Farmers’ Training Centres.
Scientifically supported practical knowledge and the Project’s results were disseminated, implementing a standardized curriculum. Improved quality education programs were adapted to small-scale farmers specific needs, promoting certified educational processes that account for agricultural communities diversity. To date around 30,000 farmers have been trained in the Farmers Academy with many currently undertaking studies.
On 30 January 2010, Secretary-General of United Nations, Bank Ki-Moon, visited officially the Biofarm in Addis Ababa, giving the maximum visibility to this Projects.

Farmers’ Academy training Farmers’ Academies, with unique facilities and demonstration models, have been established in Ethiopia by Bioeconomy Africa and are being used to train 5,000 farmers and development workers per year. Biofarms are used as model farms during training sessions.
International meetings One of the international meetings organized at the Biofarm in Addis Ababa. The University of Molise, some partners of the project (i.e. BEA and ICIPE) and Jimma University (Ethiopia) participate to the event to develop and scaling up, among other, strategies for tsetse control in Ethiopia.
Visit of UN secretary general On 30 January 2010, Secretary-General of United Nations Bank Ki-Moon visited officially the Biofarm in Addis Ababa (http://www.un.org/sg/statements/?nid=4363), giving the maximum visibility to the Tsetse and biofarming projects. During the visit he was guided by dr. Getachew Tikubet, founder and director of NGO Bioeconomy Africa (from Bioeconomy Africa, Addis Ababa).
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Highlight on Bioeconomy Africa Dissemination booklet published by Bioeconomy Africa, explaining the Integrated Bioeconomy System, that include the Adaptive Management module against Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis.