Spatially explicit dataset on crop status of 161 farm plots in Tigray (20-30 August 2021)

DOI

There was hunger in Tigray (north Ethiopia) throughout the most of 2021 due to the effects of the Tigray conflict (which began in early November 2020). Armed forces from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the neighboring Amhara region fought against the forces of Tigray's regional government in the first half of the year; in the second half of the year, warfare was primarily outside of Tigray, more to the south, while Tigray itself was subjected to a blockade, with all telecommunication and lifelines to the outside world cut (Pellet, 2021, Gayim, 2021, Ramos, 2021). Due to a lack of economic activity, limited food supplies, and limited humanitarian access, 70 percent of the population went hungry, resulting in significant levels of acute food insecurity and excess mortality (Plaut, 2021, Istratii, 2021, Weldemichel, 2021, Oxford Analytica, 2021, Devi, 2021, Müller and Read, 2021). The famine was at its worst from September to December 2021, as it took until December to consume the previous year's low harvest; the lean period was extremely harsh. That period of time occurs between the end of the last food supply and the commencement of the new crop (Hirvonen et al., 2016). We offer field data obtained by the end of August 2021, which were evaluated to determine the percentage of Tigray's land that was seeded on schedule, the types of crops sown, and the condition of these crops. A team of geographers visited 161 agricultural plots in an area indicative of the region's diverse bio-physical circumstances, including elevation (plots ranged from 1767 to 2598 meters above sea level), lithology, soil type, rainfall patterns, and hence cropping strategies (Nyssen et al., 2019, Alemtsehay Tsegay et al., 2019). Other land uses, such as irrigated land, grassland, barren land, bushland, and forest, were left out of the analysis. We visited ecoregions with different biophysical and agro-ecological characteristics along main roads in six districts between 20 and 30 August 2021: Tsa'ida Imba, Kilte Awula'ilo (including including croplands on the outskirts of Wukro's urban district), Dogu'a Tembien (including Hagere Selam), Samre, Hintalo (including Addi Gudom), and Inderta (including Mekelle). The investigations typically took place some hundreds of meters away from the main roads, as parallel transect walks, observing and talking to farmers present on the land. Participatory monitoring was used to collect data for each cropland, which included recording the crop type, a group assessment of the crop's status according to local standards (good, medium, bad, failed; taking into account growth features such as plant height, greenness and density, ear length, homogeneity in crop stand), observations of whether or not neighboring farmers cropped in block, and a semi-structured interview with the farmer or a group discussion (Van De Fliert et al., 2000, Nyumba et al., 2018, Young and Hinton, 1996). Aside from the usual crop evaluation, emphasis was paid to block wise cropping with adjacent farmers since, like three-field systems, this practice is an indicative of an internally well-organized community, and hints to a superior yield forecast as it prevents disruptions (Nyssen et al., 2008, Hopcroft, 1994, Ruthenberg, 1980). According to descriptive statistics from the dataset, at the end of August, 21% of the monitored farm parcels had been left fallow, meaning no crops had been planted (34 plots out of 161). However, 9 percent of the fallow plots had no weeds, indicating that the ground had been ploughed but not seeded. A further 7% of the plots were planted with flax or niger seed, which is often used to improve fallow soil quality rather than crop output. Among the cultivated areas, 62 plots (49%) were planted with wheat, barley, or a combination of both (hanfets), while 33 plots (26%) were planted with tef. Only 6% of the land was planted with maize, and only 4% with sorghum. In the plots containing crops that were examined, 40% had been seeded in block, in collaboration with the owners of surrounding lands. Wheat and barley, in particular, were seeded in blocks (53 percent). Nearly half (47 percent) of the wheat and barley fields, as well as two of the five sorghum lands, were in fair condition. In contrast, four of the seven maize-growing plots were in bad condition, and one had completely failed. 67 percent of the tef lands and 73 percent of the oil crops (mainly flax) were also in bad condition

Selection criteria of monitored croplands:Rainfed farmlandNo irrigationNo buildings on the land, no iron sheets!No trees on the landCrop should be homogeneousAt least 30 m x 30 mBorder of two lands with similar conditions is acceptableNo intercropping (hamfets is allowed)Record coordinates in the middle of the homogeneous landConsidering all sites, there should be variability in crop types and in locations

Identifier
DOI https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.943374
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01433-1
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.33112/nm.16.1.21
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980015003237
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.7227/JHA.053
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.840
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12860
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1108/OXAN-ES262096
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1080/03071847.2021.1981630
Metadata Access https://ws.pangaea.de/oai/provider?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=datacite4&identifier=oai:pangaea.de:doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.943374
Provenance
Creator Tesfaalem Ghebreyohannes; Nyssen, Jan; Emnet Negash; Hailemariam Meaza; Zbelo Tesfamariam
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 2022
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
OpenAccess true
Representation
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 1286 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (39.158W, 13.188S, 39.608E, 14.070N); Africa, Ethiopia