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CON 2014: Exploring Prosopis Management and Policy Options

PENHA Regional Conference

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia November 26th to 27th 2014

Supported by:  The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Univercity College London (UCL) and EAPDA-Ethiopia.

Conference Overview

The expansion of Prosopis Juliflora has been a serious problem in the Sub-Saharan Africa including the countries of IGAD. The species crosses borders and affects entire ecosystems, the environment and natural resources upon which poor and hard-pressed pastoral and agro-pastoral communities depend. Prosopis was introduced to the Horn of African countries for various reasons but in most cases without preliminary long-term impact studies. For instance in Sudan it was introduced as a shelter belt to stop the expansion of desert sand dunes. However, Prosopis seeds were then distributed even more widely through animal dung. It has begun to replace palatable and nutritious indigenous vegetation on a large scale. 

In the IGAD countries, Prosopis and the challenge it is posing has become a serious issue, affecting the livelihoods of farmers, agro-pastoral and pastoral communities, by taking over farm land, browse and pasture, as well as reducing the water supply for people and animals in affected areas. Some governments have opted for expensive physical eradication methods which are not proving effective while others are trying alternative approaches which consider Prosopis as underutilised resource which could be managed with this in mind. With financial support from Novib in 2007, PENHA took an initiative by having an alternative approach which sees Prosopis as an underutilized resource, rather than just an ecological menace. Working with the Animal 

Production Resource Centre (APRC) of the Sudanese Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, PENHA conducted action-oriented research, which subsequently used the evidence obtained to successfully conduct a pilot project.

This alternative approach has been supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the project title of ‘Alternative uses of Prosopis Juliflora for Animal Feed in Eastern Sudan and Somalia’. This promotes PENHA/APRC’s previous experience in Eastern Sudan of producing animal feed from Prosopis. As part of its intra-regional learning process, the methods and ideas employed there, with an input from PENHA Ethiopia associates who are experienced in similar business of managing Prosopis, are now being introduced into Somaliland. The strategy takes the approach of using Prosopis as a natural resource while preventing the germination of its seeds. In addition to providing a new and nutritious animal feed, its use can also provide new sources of income to pastoralists and agro-pastroalists. This twin track strategy involves harvesting Prosopis as an alternative feed resource while also introducing more sustainable control measures at the community level. It tries to improve the prevailing level of poverty among the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities through producing nutritious animal feed which in turn improve the low animal productively and adverse climate change impacts.

At the same time, there is a great deal of work being undertaken in Ethiopia on the issue of Prosopis by the government, NGOs and private sector. Our proposed conference will draw from such experiences, so adding value to PENHA’s regional efforts. This will enable the conference participants to explore the experience of Ethiopia designing and implementing Prosopis policy of control and use programmes as well as using PENHA's experience.

The conference will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November 26th to 27th 2014. It constitutes part of the project by sharing the expansion of the intra-regional and global learning based on the field and desk review research conducted with partners which have long-term engagement in improving animal productivity, natural capital and levels of poverty among the communities. The conference will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on pastoralist and argo-pastoralist areas. 

A detailed conference concept note will be uploaded shortly.

Contact: Bereket Tsegay ( info@penhanetwork.org ) for any conference related issues and express an interest in attending the event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Funds are not available and participants need to cover their cost themselves.