New Zealander Farmer Finds Inspiration in Ethiopia

New Zealander Farmer Finds Inspiration in Ethiopia New Zealander Farmer Finds Inspiration in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, Alan Stuart traveled around the central area of Lalibela for most of his time there, studying its agriculture and unique culture.

By Beckie Wilson (Wairarapa Times-Age) |

Exploring rural Ethiopia has given Mauriceville’s Alan Stuart tips on how he can farm when the region’s predicted climate change effects kick in.

A recent National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) report has predicted that Wairarapa can expect a higher number of days of drought along with more intense rainfall events and Mr Stuart says New Zealand’s future climate is comparable to the African nation’s somewhat barren landscape.

“If we are going to get some kind of climate change, I thought I had better be prepared for it, and what a better place to go — they get massive droughts, they are fairly tropical and they seem to cope,” said Mr Stuart, who returned from his three-week trip last Sunday.

Seeking alternative cropping practices to apply on his farm was his top priority.

But having been a regular donor to an Ethiopian aid program — Bricks for Life — for about three years, he wanted to offer his farming knowledge to those in the underdeveloped country.

Ahead of the trip, he did a “huge amount” of reading on the country’s agriculture and the crops that best suited the climate.

In Ethiopia, he traveled around the central area of Lalibela for most of his time there, studying its agriculture and unique culture.

He said he was just the second European face to be seen at the Lalibela village, adding that he was welcomed into each community with opening arms.

“They are a waste-less society, and everything they do is for a very good reason. For survival.”

The Ethiopian plains were very green, but the surrounding hills were very dry. Overall, it was a similar climate to New Zealand, but more temperate.

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