By Tolera Senbeto and colleagues
The following is the second of a series of summaries of preliminary findings from our ERC funded research. Details are subject to change.
We investigated the governance of food security and biodiversity conservation in Jimma Zone, southwestern Ethiopia. We conducted 24 focus group discussions in six kebeles belonging to three woredas (Gumay, Setema, Gera), and interviewed over 200 stakeholders from kebele to federal levels. Ensuring food security without harming biodiversity has been central in Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plans, and stakeholders reported improvements in both areas. Food security improved due to increased production, improved agricultural extension, expansion of services such as cooperatives, health and education, awareness creation in the community, and shifts towards market oriented production. Biodiversity conservation improved due to better forest protection, law enforcement and community awareness, and the recognized importance of the forest for coffee production. Further improvements may be possible by addressing the following issues:
- We found examples of insufficient interaction both within and between sectors (e.g. between the Bureau of Agriculture and the Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise; or between experts and leaders).
- We found a near-complete lack of communication among woredas, and among kebeles.
- There were mismatches between community interests and sectoral services (e.g. on the use of inputs, choice of land use, and centralized forest governance)
- Development strategies did not sufficiently account for differences between kebeles and farmers
- There were some sectoral mismatches in goals and implementation (e.g. Land Administration & Environmental Management vs. Oromia Forest & Wildlife Enterprise vs. Investment Office)
- Services have improved, as have outcomes related to food security and biodiversity conservation.
- However, coordination among stakeholders needs to be strengthened for further improvements.
- Development activities should account for differences between locations and different community members.