Ethiopia experiences significant climate-induced drought and stress on crop and livestock productivity, contributing to widespread food insecurity. Here, we present subseasonal crop water stress analyses that indicate degrading, growing conditions along Ethiopia’s eastern highlands, including productive and populated highland regions. These seasonally shifting areas of increasing water stress stretch from the north to south across eastern Ethiopia, intersecting regions of acute food insecurity and/or high population. Crop model simulations indicate that between 1982 and 2014, parts of eastern Amhara and eastern Oromia experienced increasing water deficits during the critical sowing, flowering, and ripening periods of crop growth. These trends occurred while population in these regions increased by 143% between 2000 and 2015. These areas of enhanced crop water stress in south-central Ethiopia coincide with regions of high population growth and ongoing crop extensification. Conversely, large regions of relatively unpopulated western Ethiopia are becoming wetter. These areas may therefore be good targets for agricultural development.
Brown, Molly E., Funk, Chris, Pedreros, Diego, Korecha, Diriba, Lemma, Melesse, Rowland, James, … Verdin, James. (2017). A climate trend analysis of Ethiopia: examining subseasonal climate impacts on crops and pasture conditions. Climatic Change, 142(1–2). doi:10.1007/s10584-017-1948-6