Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion (PRIME) in EthiopiaEast Africa


Climate change is increasingly impacting pastoralists in Ethiopia through rising temperatures and rainfall variability (Schmidt & Pearson 2016) /taxonomy/term/7921. The vulnerability of Ethiopian pastoralists is further exacerbated by lack of access to clean water and loss of communal grazing areas (Amenu et al. 2013, Rettberg 2010)/taxonomy/term/7902 /taxonomy/term/7913. Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion (PRIME), a project funded by USAID aimed to improve the resilience of pastoralist communities through increased productivity and competitiveness of livestock. In the dairy cattle, non-dairy cattle, sheep and goat value chains, PRIME encouraged improving grassland management, improving feed quality and supporting a sufficient and stable feed supply.

Relationship with CSA

The project aimed to build resilience for pastoralists in Ethiopia by enhancing their adaptive capacity and providing opportunities for transitioning out of pastoralism. PRIME’s interventions resulted in improved productivity in the dairy cattle, non-dairy cattle, sheep and goat value chains; these productivity increases also had mitigation co-benefits.

Impact and lessons learned

Productivity increased significantly in non-dairy cattle, sheep and goat value chains, with a moderate productivity increase in milk output. PRIME impacted emission intensity, which was reduced in all livestock systems. Interventions also resulted in increased soil carbon stocks and reduced GHG emissions from enteric fermentation.

Link to info note


  • 1

    Schmidt M, Pearson O. 2016. Pastoral livelihoods under pressure: Ecological, political and socioeconomic transitions in Afar (Ethiopia). Journal of Arid Environments 124:22–30. The Afar pastoralists that reside in arid and semi-arid regions of Ethiopia have fallen under increasing pressure as rangelands and natural resources are affected by recurrent droughts, overgrazing, erosion processes, alien plant invasion and governmental land policies. This paper investigates the impact of these environmental, institutional and cultural changes on natural resource management strategies, using empirical research undertaken in four villages of western Afar (Ethiopia) to assess the related challenges to local livelihoods. Qualitative interviews with various stakeholders reveal that the authority and use of traditional common property regimes have been considerably diminished and traditional livelihood practices threatened. Many pastoralists have adopted agriculture in a move away from pure pastoralism to agro-pastoralism, a transition exaggerated by changing property rights and the Federal Government's sedentarisation program, which is presented as a means of reducing poverty. On-going land privatisation and an increased government presence in the region weaken indigenous institutions and cultural practices, with no clear local understanding of the impact on future generations and Afar identity.
  • 2

    Amenu K, Markemann A, Roessler R, SiegmundSchultze M, Abebe G, Zarate AV. 2013. Constraints and challenges of meeting the water requirements of livestock in Ethiopia: cases of Lume and Siraro districts. Tropical Animal Health and Production 45(7):1539-48. Compared to the total water use in livestock production systems, water for livestock drinking is small in amount but is an important requirement for health and productivity of animals. This study was carried out to assess constraints and challenges of meeting drinking water requirements of livestock in rural mixed smallholder crop-livestock farming districts in the Ethiopian Rift Valley area. Data was collected by individual interviews with randomly selected respondents and farmer group discussions. Farmers ranked feed and water scarcity as the two most important constraints for livestock husbandry, although the ranking order differed between districts and villages. Poor quality water was a concern for the communities in proximity to urban settlements or industrial establishments. Water provision for livestock was challenging during the dry season, since alternative water sources dried up or were polluted. Though rainwater harvesting by dugout constructions was practiced to cope with water scarcity, farmers indicated that mismanagement of the harvested water was posing health risks on both livestock and people. A sustainable water provision for livestock in the area, thus, depends on use of different water sources (intermittent or perennial) that should be properly managed. Industrial establishments should adopt an environment-friendly production to minimize pollution of water resources used for livestock consumption. Technical support to farmers is required in proper design and use of existing rainwater harvesting systems. Further investigations are recommended on effect of poor quality water (perceived by farmers) on performance of livestock.
  • 3

    Rettberg S. 2010. Contested narratives of pastoral vulnerability and risk in Ethiopia’s Afar region. Pastoralism 1(2):248-273. This paper emphasises the role of local knowledge, risk perceptions and decision patterns in analyzing changing pastoral livelihood strategies. Based on an intensive empirical case study within the Middle Awash Basin of Ethiopia’s Afar region it is argued that the main concern for Afar pastoralists are political risks evolving from recurrent violent confl icts and increasing governmental development interventions, while drought plays only a minor role within local narratives of risk. Special attention is drawn to the strategic instrumentalization of heterogeneous governmental and pastoral risk narratives and the impact of confl icting narratives on the current pastoral livelihood crisis, shaped by an increasing vulnerability and an ongoing political and economic marginalization of pastoralists in Ethiopia.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

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