National ‘green legacy’ initiative aims to reduce environmental degradation
theguardian – About 350m trees have been planted in a single day in Ethiopia, according to a government minister.
The planting is part of a national “green legacy” initiative to grow 4bn trees in the country this summer by encouraging every citizen to plant at least 40 seedlings. Public offices have reportedly been shut down in order for civil servants to take part.
The project aims to tackle the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone country. According to the UN, Ethiopia’s forest coverage was just 4% in the 2000s, down from 35% a century earlier.
Ethiopia’s minister of innovation and technology, Dr Getahun Mekuria, tweeted estimates of the number of trees planted throughout the day. By early evening on Monday, he put the number at 353m.
The previous world record for the most trees planted in one day stood at 50m, held by India since 2016.
Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the centre for wood science and technology at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they also have huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation, particularly in arid countries. They also provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply.
“This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people. The forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension.”
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over the weekend kicked off what is meant to be a mission to plant four billion trees across the country – Africa’s second most populous nation.
The initiative which is under the banner of the National Green Development program is set to started during the rainy season.
“Over the past years Ethiopia’s forest coverage has decreased (in recent years) and the initiative is set mobilize national reforestation at 40 trees per head,” the PM’s office said in a social media post.
Abiy held discussions with the National Agri Transformation leaders in Adama city, in his home region of Oromia. He tasked participants – which included most high-profile government officials – on their role and responsibilities in modernizing the sector.
Ethiopia has in recent years have suffered from the negative impact of climate change especially in relation to droughts in parts of the country. Reports indicate that in 2017, over 2 million animals died in Ethiopia due to drought because of the scarcity of rainfall.
Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia
PM Abiy Ahmed held discussions with national agri transformation leaders in Adama city on their role & responsibilities in modernizing the sector. He called upon them to champion the National Green Dev’t Program which aims to plant 4billion trees during the rainy season. 1/2
ADDIS ABABA, July 27 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian government on Saturday said the country made more than 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from the exports of coffee and oilseeds during the just-concluded Ethiopian fiscal year that ended on July 7.
The revenue was generated from the export of coffee, mung beans, white kidney beans, sesame seeds and soya beans, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reported on Saturday.
Large amount of the export revenue was generated from the export of coffee. Ethiopia is one of Africa’s largest producers of Arabica coffee, in which coffee production is dubbed as the backbone of the country’s agriculture-led economy.
Ethiopia also recently revealed a new initiative to uplift the current close to 600,000 tons of annual coffee production to 1.8 million tons within the coming five years period.
According to the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA), the Chinese market is expected to be a major destination for the nation’s coffee exports.
In April this year, China and Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on coffee exports to China and to deepen bilateral trade cooperation.
Amid increasing demand for coffee among younger Chinese, penetrating the emerging coffee market is also increasingly seen as a major priority among Ethiopian coffee producers and exporters.
Ethiopia’s sesame production, which is also considered as one of Ethiopia’s top export commodities next to coffee, has in recent years witnessed growing interest from the Chinese market.
Haile Berhe, President of the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association, told Xinhua recently that the export of sesame seed to China currently constitutes close to 70 percent of the East African country’s total export of the product to the global market.
China is already the east African country’s major export destination. Ethiopia, during the previous Ethiopian 2017-2018 fiscal year, had exported 245 million U.S. dollars of goods to China, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade.
The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy announced that the Genale Dawa III Hydro Power Plant and the Aisha Wind Power Plant will soon join the national power grid.
The Ministry, which declared the lifting of rolling blackouts on Monday, disclosed that the new power plants would play a role in curbing the power shortage the country is facing. The Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Sileshi Bekele (PhD) said that the Genale Dawa III hydro power plant, which has an installed generation capacity of 254 MW, will start generation in August 2019. Sileshi said work on the Genale hydro power project has been completed adding that it is under testing and commission work.
The Minister stated that the Genale Dawa area has two rainy seasons which will help the hydro power plant have a better energy out put. “We can use the turbines efficiently. The hydro power plant can operate with 72 percent efficiency,” he said. Genale Dawa will generate additional 1620 GWH.
The Genale Dawa III hydro power project is located in southeastern Ethiopia and is currently being built by China Gezhouba Group at a cost of around USD 450 percent. It set to generate more than 250MW upon completion. It is also projected to raise the country’s electricity installed generating capacity to 4,541 MW.
Sileshi said that the Aisha wind power plant which has an installed generation capacity of 125 MW will be joining the national grid in January 2020.
The Chinese electric company, Dongfang Electric Corporation Limited (DECL), is developing the wind farm project in Aisha area of Somali State, Ethiopia. The wind farm located 20 km distance from Ethio-Djibouti border was projected to cost USD 257 million.
The wind farm will have 80 turbines each having the capacity to generate 1.5 megawatt.
“These two projects would ease the current power shortage,” the minister said.
The minister disclosed that work is underway to develop solar, wind and geothermal power projects by independent power producers. According to him, six solar power projects with an aggregate generation capacity of 800 MW is in the bidding process.
Sileshi mentioned that the Grand Ethiopian Renascence Dam (GERD) will start generation in 2021. Ethiopian Electric Power, the state power company, which currently has a total installed generation capacity of 4,324 MW of electricity is building power plants with a total generation capacity of 8,774MW.
Sileshi told The Reporter that negotiations are underway to sign implementation agreements for the Corbetti and Tulu Moye geothermal projects. Independent power producers, Corbetti Geothermal and Tulu Moye Geothermal, have signed power purchasing agreements with EEP to develop 1000MW of geothermal power plants in the Oromia Regional State West Arsi Zone with an estimated capital of four billion dollars. “There are some outstanding issues that we need to address. We are still negotiating to sign the implementation agreements,” the Minister told The Reporter.
A power industry analyst told The Reporter that the geothermal projects are behind schedule as the government is dragging its feet to sign the implementation agreements. “Geothermal project is a reliable power source that can operate through out the year. The construction does not take long time like hydro power dams. So it will be wise for the government to expedite work on the geothermal power projects at this critical time when the country is facing a power crisis,” he said.
However, Sileshi rebuffs the critic. “We can not rush to sign the implementation agreements as there are some issues that we should agree on. The implementation agreement could be so expensive that we can not afford,” he said.
Ethiopian Electric Utility which started power rationing last March revealed that it has stopped the rationing as of Monday July 8 as the water levels in the hydro power dams have improved.