Wukro woreda is considered as one of the most food insecure woredas in Tigray and all its 18 tabias have been included in the Productive Safety Net Program. It is also one of the areas with highest level of poverty in our data.

This information was obtained early June 2010 from the Tabia administration in Genfel Tabia, located 1-2 km from Wukro woreda centre. The tabia has irrigation and is therefore better off than some of the other tabias in the woreda and has good market access. The tabia has 1333 households of which 464 are female headed and a population of 8640. Out of these 5040 participate in the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). In addition the tabia has also received additional assistance from the emergency (earlier called OFSP) Risk Financing food security program the last four years. 830 individuals got this type of assistance last year, giving 5870 individuals receiving support from the two safety net programs. The number of months of support has varied from 6 to 8 months for the PSNP and was 8 months last year and is 6 months this year.

Most of the assistance is provided through Food-for-work. Last year 2 out of 8 months of assistance was Cash-for-work. The tabia has 25 households that have graduated from the PSNP, out of which 2 are female headed. 247 new individuals have now been added to the program. 59 households have applied for the new Household Package Credit program. This is credit for 5 years for amounts between 5 000 and 15 000 Birr. Out of these, 42 have been granted loans. These loans are for irrigation pumps, dairy cows or other livestock and bee hives. The interest rate in DECSI is now 18%. Over the last years the number of households taking these 5 year loans has varied from 97 to 328 households per year, except in 2009 when only 7 households obtained the loan due to supply constraint. We were also informed that DECSI has stopped providing group loans but there is a church organization (St. Mary’s Catholic Church Aid) providing such loans without interest.

In the safety net program males are allowed to work for maximum 4 persons while female are allowed to work for maximum 3 persons. A household with two males and one female labor force can therefore work for maximum 11 family members. On the other hand, a household with only a single female labor unit and a family size of 6 will have to work of 3 persons but will still obtain food for all the 6 family members under the new PSNP rules. According to the Tabia Manager it is not a requirement that households have to do their compulsory free labor before they get the PSNP benefits. In the past it was common to require the completion of the free compulsory labor requirement before participation in FFW and CFW was allowed.

The tabia has already implemented the increase in compulsory free labor contribution from 20 to 40 days per year per adult person. Persons up to an age of 70 years are required to meet this obligation and they need a medical reason for not to do it. Even household members partly living outside the community but who still have their land in the community are expected to do their compulsory contribution. The same is the case for persons in the community who have other obligations like member of the Land Administration Committee etc. According the Tabia Manages 80% of this work has been on soil and water conservation while a relatively small share has gone into irrigation, school, health, roads and tree planting investments. We observed groups working on building gully control (see pictures).

The tabia has 1286 ha arable land (500 ha good quality, 476 ha medium quality and 310 ha poor quality), 1035 ha communal land, out of which 191 ha are forest and 844 ha protected area for regeneration. This gives close to 1 ha arable land per household.