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 - ItalyLead 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 StatesInitiative 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 - KenyaInitiative 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 - EthiopiaInitiative 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 - ItalyInitiative 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.