Community Action in Kafa
Community Action for Biodiversity and Forest Conservation and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Wild Coffee Forests (CAFA)
Vast expanses of Afromontane cloud forest, rainforest, dense bamboo forests, wetlands, floodplains and peatlands characterise the Kafa Biosphere Reserve in south-west Ethiopia. The moist, green region is considered one of the last intact high forest areas of Ethiopia. It acts as an important water reservoir and carbon store and provides a habitat for rare and endangered species. The area is of particular significance as it is the origin of wild Arabica coffee.
At least 650,000 people live in the premises of Kafa Biosphere Reserve. More than 90% of the inhabitants’ livelihoods depend on subsistence farming, the sale of coffee, forest honey and the use of natural resources e.g. for food, fuel, building material and medicinal plants or spices. Mainly grain is being cultivated, including the local Ethiopian grain species teff (Eragrostis teff), legumes and the locally important Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum), whose starch-rich stem is fermented for bread. The most common livestock is cattle, followed by poultry, sheep and goats. Over the centuries they have adapted their (land) use, traditions and customs to nature. Wild coffee harvesting has been practised over centuries; complex tenure arrangements and traditions and rites have been developed. Nevertheless, steady population growth, poverty, illegal immigration and agro-investment (e.g. tea, coffee) have led to an increasing pressure on the region's natural resources.
Throughout the last decade, NABU has established a well-reputed role in the Kafa region through closely working with local communities and government partner. Building on the success past projects, the current three years project (2017-2019), which is funded through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), focuses on close community engagement to protect the ecosystem of the Kafa Biosphere Reserve and contribute to secured livelihood and resilient agriculture under the conditions of climate change.
Whereas the local population, younger generation in particular, is losing their traditional bond with the natural environment, our project follows a long-term effect logic by taking up already established, but forgotten and/or improvable concepts. At the same time we foster capacities and understanding in local communities and authorities, to enable them to independently ensure the preservation and sustainable use of natural resources.