In the Wolaita region of Ethiopia, families largely depend on subsistence farming - meaning they grow just enough to feed themselves, and have nothing to spare. However, extremely difficult growing conditions, caused by prolonged droughts and rising temperatures, are meaning that even this basic level of food security is now under threat. When coupled with a lack of crop diversification and no other avenues of income, households face long periods of significant malnutrition.
The Fruit Tree project has been designed not only to help ensure the ready availability of nutritious and marketable fruits, but also to tackle the climate emergency, by removing carbon from the atmosphere and regenerating the land. Ripple Effect are supporting 2,900 families across 28 kebeles (villages) to grow and manage 44,000 apple and avocado trees. It is estimated that around 27,000 tonnes of carbon will be sequestered in the trees’ first 15 years, for which the first measurements will be taken in 2027. To support with this, Ripple Effect are partnering with two other organisations - Climate Stewards, a carbon offsetting charity who assess the project against rigorous standards, and Terepeza Development Association, a local Wolaita community group, who will be measuring tree growth.
You can read more about the project in this blog from Zac Goodall, Riverford’s Head of Sustainability, after his visit to Ethiopia last year.