Weather conditions in Arba Minch: Dry!
Last years report (in german): https://www.betterplace.org/de/projects/34102-echte-grune-revolution-slope-farming-projekt-arba-minch-athiopien/newsroom
September till December 2016: 4 students from TUHH joined the project in Arba Minch! During the month, many great things were accomplished by a great team!
Project Site: Measures of Rain Water Harvesting were started! With our self-constructed mason level, we marked the contour lines of the plateau in the project site to establish water harvesting keyline trenches. A suiting, beneficial vegetation cover will follow soon, benefiting from the stored water and non-eroded, fertile topsoil! Erosion can be stopped by adapted system, beneficial also for the farmer implementing them!
Productive Ponds: In ponds, we started to grow Azolla. The system basically only needs some cow manure and soil supplied weekly. Then the amazing Azolla starts growing non-stop. We aim to develope an integrated "waste and wastewater"-treatment system around this, with production of high-value organic fertilizer, mulch or even livestock fodder, for closed nutrient cycles!
Small Scale Farm: On the Mission Compound we implement a Small Scale Farm for research and demonstration purpose. How productive can we get by our system on a limited farming area? Here, on 1.400 m² we can see...
Chicken House: We constructed a chicken house from local materials (loam bricks, partly wood and bamboo) in the Moringa Tree Nursery for organic, free-ranged poultry, fed also by Azolla plants. No more weeding between the Moringas!
Check Dam: We enlarged the well working checkdams from last year to creat a flood plain. Much stones had to be carried, much soil to be dug out for strong fundaments. Within the the first following rain events, substantial amounts of sediments rich in organic matter have been accumulated. Now we can green the area with many beneficial plants!
July and August 2016: We started to do more experiments on loam bricks. The best mixture of sand, silt and clay along with water and additional material like teff straw is worked out right now by Jana. Asfaw will produce some more bricks for the construction of a house, soon.
June 2016: Thomas is working on the construction of an improved wood gas stove from metal. Along with a local metal worker a big stove was constructed, which works sufficient. Experiments on using saw dust as a wood residue instead of wood are still running.
May 2016: The experimental area was set up in the compound of the Catholic Church in Arba Minch. Trenches allow to retain water from stron rain events (up to 60mm in some hours) and infiltrate it into the soil.
April 2016: The mission compound shall be turned into an experimental demonstration site for Slope Farming - with autark supply of agricultural goods! Therefore some measures were implemented: Rain Water Harvesting, Moringa plantings, living fences. We created some useful tools for adapted management of the measures: Moringa seed harvester, Mason level and charcoal grinder!
March 2016: Oliviero built a wood gas stove along with a local blacksmith! Pyrolysis is running good, but still too fast...producing charcoal WHILE you cook your dinner. Nice!
March 2016: The rainy season started. First rain events in the night - also one heavy one. The improved check-dams did their job and accumulated loads and loads of sediments! Great work! Now we have to increase them...
March 2016: Congratulations to Stefan Hügel for his great project work on plant selection in course of our "Slope Farming Project"!
Februar 2016: Giovanni, with the help of Pauline, Oliviero and Carla, built some new check-dams to support the big check-dam. Water rushing in the erosion gully is to be slowed down. This way our main check-dam can be protected efficiently.
January 2016: Carla and Oliviero arrived in Arba Minch to conduct work on a Terra Preta System, respectively on Wood Gas Stoves for the production of charcoal. Meanwhile, Moringa grew up to 4,7m, 8 month after sowing!
December 2015: Due to the weather phenomenon "El Nino" this years rainy season was unpredictable - even less than before. Heavy, erratic rain falls destroyed our established check-dams. Stones of more than a couple of 100kg were washed away. So Giovanni, with the help of Alessandro, constructed an improved check-dam, which should be able to sustain even that heavy floods.
December 2015: For an alternative housing construction with local materials, Melina managed to produce some loam bricks. These are now tested back in Hamburg for their suitability for construction.
December 2015: Due to plenty of rain fall, the Moringa trees in our tree nursery are doing good! The largest trees are already 4,5m - half a year after their sowing! The plants sown in the extension of the tree nursery also germinated!
December 2015: Alessandro worked on a low-cost hydroseeding system to easily establish a dense vegetation cover. Let us hope the goats do not find their way into the area!
15.11.2015: Giovanni is coming to Arba Minch for watershed management and implementation of Rain Water Harvesting measures in the project site!
06.11.2015: Alessandro is joining the team and arrives in Arba Minch to conduct his work on a hydroseeding system!
02.11.2015: Thanks for the donations so far! We constructed some more check-dams to retain sediments and infiltrate rain water!
16.10.2015: Melina made here way safely to Arba Minch and starts her work on a concept for alternative housing construction with local materials and waste products!
08.10.2015: After only one strong rain event at night, our check-dams passed their first real test and are already full of sediments. So we have to enlarge them!
05.10.2015: First actions were performed in the project site...the first two check-dams were constructed testwise. Many more will follow!
10.09.2015: Stefan, Claas and Asfaw are working on the extension of the tree nursery "Moringa Fields"...for many more Moringas!