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Consecutive years of drought have depleted food and water resources in Djibouti, stretching the ability of rural families – most of whom keep livestock – to cope. People have enough difficulty feeding themselves, let alone their animals, but FAO Djibouti is working to turn that around.
Increasing water and pasture availability
More than half of Djibouti’s 210 000 inhabitants live in rural areas; most rely on livestock for food and income. Poor rainfall over the years, however, has made water and pasture scarce. Herd sizes have shrunk – drought-related livestock loss is upwards of 70 percent – and milk production has fallen.
FAO Djibouti is working to increase water access for people and animals by rehabilitating groundwater catchments, wells and troughs and constructing cisterns. It is providing animal feed and veterinary care and regenerating pasture in a bid to improve livestock health and productivity. FAO is teaching pastoral communities new techniques to prevent animal disease and to manage livestock. It is also helping farmers grow vegetables and animal fodder.
The frequency of drought in the region makes it increasingly difficult for families to recover each time. Add to the mix high and volatile food prices – Djibouti imports more than 90 percent of its food – and it becomes clear how precarious the situation is. To inject much-needed cash into households and local economies, FAO Djibouti is engaging vulnerable farmers in the rehabilitation of infrastructure such as micro-irrigation systems.
Bolstering early warning and disaster risk reduction
Being able to predict and respond quickly to an emergency is essential. FAO is working closely with Djibouti’s Ministry Agriculture and Ministry of the Interior to strengthen disaster risk management, putting into place mechanisms for early warning systems and information collection and diffusion. In addition, FAO has mapped migration routes and water points for pastoralists as well as cross-border movements within the region.