A multi-sectoral stakeholders’ platform joined hands to rescue over 131,000 cattle on the verge of death in Borena zone of southern Oromia. These cattle can stand and walk only with human support as deadly drought takes hold in Borena. Over 71,000 livestock have already died since the drought began.
Borena, a pastoralist area now in an Emergency stage, has been stricken by drought since last year after the rainy season skipped a season since May 2021.
The Finfine Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, which was formed of businesses in Oromia special zones surrounding Addis Ababa, NGOs and prominent athletes have come together to raise 15 to 20 million Birr until the next round of rains in March, 2022.
The Oromia Regional Agricultural Bureau, Water and Energy Bureau, Oromia Disaster Risk and Rehabilitation Commission and others have mobilized resources to cultivate animal fodder on 52 hectares of land in Borena. Fodder varieties that can be harvested within 45 days are being cultivated in the area.
Elias Guyo, president of the Finfine Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, told The Reporter that the committee will collect 15 million to 20 million birr to reach the victims in the next four months.
According to Ketema Urga, research and development director at Oromia irrigation and pastoralist development bureau, about 26 hectares of the cultivated land is being cultivated in Dilo Woreda while another 26 hectares of land is also being cultivated in Hareweyu area of Borena Zone, Yabelo Woreda.
Fluctuating rainfall and the occurrence of drought are challenging features of pastoral and agro-pastoral areas in the Oromia region. As a result, the pastoral areas of Oromia, East and West Hararge, Bale and East Bale, Borena, Guji, and West Guji zones are experiencing recurrent emergencies, including drought.
The current drought occurred in Borena, West Guji, Guji, East Bale, West Hararge zones, and it exists as an alert stage in East Hararge and Bale, according to Ketema.
Normally, these areas receive bimodal rainfall in a long rainy season between March and May, and a short rainy season between September and November.
Following this condition, high crop yield reduction, shortage of water and animal feed, severe malnutrition was verified in the aforementioned zones with the cumulative effect resulting in an increased food shortage in the region. Moreover, the production and productivity performance of livestock deteriorated and livestock mortality in Borana zone was noted.
According to Ketema, price of cattle and camel milk soared from 36 birr per liter in June to 60 birr currently, following the deteriorating condition of livestock in the drought stricken areas.