Farming Systems And Strategies For Sustainable Livelihood In Eritrea|
Sati, Vishwambhar Prasad
This paper examines various farming systems including cereal farming, fruit cultivation and the practice of out-of-season vegetables in the different altitudinal zones of the state of Eritrea and suggests strategies for sustainable livelihood of the populace. The two vertical zones, lowland and highland characterize the farming systems. Mid-slopes also have an important role in determining the practices of agriculture, where farming is done only on the narrow patches of the terraced fields. The highlands and mid-slopes agricultural system is characterized by the dominance of cereal faming particularly barley, wheat and maize while in the lowlands, groundnut and sorghum are the main crops. Irrigation facilities in the state are negligible due to lack of perennial sources of water. Rivers are dried up during the winter and summer. Therefore, cereals cover about 80% of the rain-fed area. Cultivating fruits particularly banana, apple, guava and papaya and out-of-season vegetables are also practiced in the highlands and mid-slopes but their proportion in the cultivated land is smaller, on the one hand, and they are traditionally cultivated and domestically used on the other. The variability in the highlands and lowlands farming system is extremely high because of extreme variation in the climatic conditions, while the scope of expansion and modernization of the cropped land is limited. The marginal farms have less than one ha area in the highlands and about 2 ha area in the lowlands. Soils, except along the valley sides or some areas of midslopes, are very poor in contents and hindrance for high yield of crops. Furthermore, lack of infra-structural facilities in the field of agriculture does not provide a base for sustainable livelihood. Under such circumstances, the cultivation of fruits and out-of-season vegetables is essential because of their tremendous scope and availability of favourable environmental conditions. Data were gathered mainly from the secondary sources. A case study of the two farmlands (highland) to discuss the potential and input-output analysis of out-of-vegetables and wheat crops was carried out. Observation and participatory method was used for further interpretation of data. The study reveals that potential of cultivating out-of-season vegetables, fruits, and cash generating products is considerably higher than traditionally cultivating subsistence cereal crops.
Farming, highland, livelihood, malnutrition, sustainable