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General Profile of the Oromiya National Regional State

Background Oromiya National Regional State is one of the Regional States in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Geographically, the Region extends from 3o24'20" 10o23'26"N latitudes and 34o07'37"42o58'51"E longitudes. It shares borderlines with all the Regional States in the Federal Democratic

Republic of Ethiopia, except Tigray. It also shares international borderlines with the Republic of the Sudan (with 66 km borderline) in the west and Kenya Republic (with 521km) in the south (BoFED, 2008). See Fig. below.

Figure 1. Location Map of Oromiya National Regional State

The Size and Shape of the Region Oromia National Regional State is the largest Regional state Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The total area of the Region is 363,136 km2, accounting for about 34.3 percent of the total area of the country. Administratively, the Region is divided into 18 administrative zones, 304 woredas (out of which 39 are towns structured with the level of woredas and 265 rural woredas), more than 6,342 farmer and

482 urban dwellers Kebeles. For detail, see the table below.

Table 1: Administrative divisions and subdivisions of Oromiya

No. Zone Capital Town Area (km2) No. of FAs No. Rural Woredas No. of Town Woredas

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Arsi West Arsi Bale Guji Borana East Hararghe West Hararghe Illu Abba Boru Jimma East shewa North Shewa West Shewa South Shewa West

Asela Shashamane Robe Nagelle Yabello Harar Chiro Matu Jimma Adama Fiche Ambo Waliso

21009 12556 63555 33290 63939 26308 17779 16884 18696 9547 8989 14371 5813

567 325 360 301 190 534 379 500 538 313 667 531 265

24 12 18 13 13 19 14 22 17 10 13 18 11

2 2 2 2 1 3 2 2 2 5 1 1 1

14 15 16 17 18

East Wellaga Horo Guduru West Wellaga Kelam Wellaga Finfine Surrounding Total

Nakamit Shambu Gimbi Dambi Dolo Finfine

14103 7869 13131 10488 4809

281 172 481 249 150

17 9 19 10 6

1 1 2 1 8





Source: Socio-economic profile of Oromia National Regional State, BoFED, 2008

Administrative Zones of Oromia

Figure 2. Location Map of Oromia Region Zone Administrative

The region has elongated shape, extending from the Kenyan border in the south to the south east, across central Ethiopia and to the Sudan border in the West. It has a total border length of about 5700km (about 600km international borderlines with Kenya and the Sudan, and 5100km with National Regional States).

1. General Climatic Information The climatic types prevailing over the Regional State of Oromia may be grouped into three with their respective sub-divisions. They are dry climate (the hot arid, semi- arid, dry sub3

humid climates), tropical rainy climate (the tropical humid and tropical sub-humid climates) and temperate rainy climate (the warm temperate humid, the warm temperate per humid and the cool highland climates). Due to its location within the tropics, the region receives high solar radiation in fact modified by its high altitude. As a result, highland areas of the Region experience low temperature and high rainfall, while lowland areas (those below 1500m) experience high temperature and low rainfall.

Rainfall and Distribution

Rainfall is one of the most important climatic variables, which shows the nature and climatic conditions of Oromia region. The region has four seasons, named as Ganna (summer), Birra (autumn), Bona (winter) and Arfassa (spring). Ganna and Birra are high rainfall seasons; whereas, Bona and Arfassa are dry seasons. The region has bi-modal rainy seasons. Rainfall in Oromia is mainly Orographic, though local Conventional and Frontal types are also experienced. The duration, amount and spatial distribution of the rainfall of Oromia depends upon relative location of a place to Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and the Red sea, air pressure and air circulation systems and variation in elevations. In general, the main controls of the rainfall distribution of Oromia region are South-Westerly Winds, South-Easterly Winds, North-Easterly Winds and High pressure cells over North-East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

In the region, Ganna is rainy season for most of the places in Western, Central, Southern and Eastern highlands and associated lowlands. Among these, the Highlands of Ilu Abba Bor that face the humid equatorial Westerly (South-Westerly Winds) and gets the highest amount of rainfall (up to 2400) in summer. So, this area is the wettest part of the region. The amount of rainfall decreases in all directions from the highlands of Ilu Abba Bor. The rest of the highlands of Ilu Abba Bor, East and West Wellega and Jimma get mean annual rainfall of above 1800mm. The Shewan plateau, Arba Gugu-Chercher Ranges, most parts of Kelem, East and West Wellega, Horo Guduru, Arsi- Bale and Guji highlands get annual rainfall of 1200-1800 mm. The low plateaus of Bale, Borena, East Harerghe, West Harerghe, North Shewa and Guji get the amount varying from 800-1200mm. The Rift Valley, lowland areas of Borena, Guji, East and West Harerghe, and Bale zones get 500 to 800mm. However, Southern Borena, the eastern Bale and Guji zones receive below 500mm annual rainfall.

On the other hand, South-Easterly Winds bring rain to the Eastern Oromia during Ganna season. In fact, highlands of Eastern Oromia get another maximum rainfall in Birra (autumn). Unlike most parts of the region, the highlands and lowlands of eastern Oromia (south-eastern Borena, low lands of Bale and Guji) experience period of maximum rainfall in Birra and some amount in Arfassa. Most parts of the region remain under the influence of dry North-east trade winds originating from Arabian Peninsula during Bona (winter), which is expressed as a dry season across the region as well as the country. Generally, the annual rainfall in the region ranges from 400-2400mm (the annual average is set between 450-1800mm when weighted throughout different localities), where the highest rainfall record is observed in the western regime of the region, while the lowest precipitation amount is recorded in the low lands of eastern and southeastern parts.


Oromia Region is situated within the tropics and so experiences high incoming solar radiation due to high angle of the solar rays with over head sun twice a year. However, this tropical nature of its climate is rather modified by altitude. Lowlands Oromia (having less than 1500m altitude) experience high temperature and low precipitation; whereas, highlands experience amiable temperature and ample rainfall. In general, mean annual temperature in the region varies from less than 100c in high altitudes badda/cool to over 300c in tropical lowlands. During the Arfassa season, Bale and Chilalo-Arba Gugu highlands, high plateaus and ranges in southern North Shewa, eastern extreme of West Shewa and Gimbichu highland in north western East Shewa experience mean seasonal temperature of 10-150c. Extensive highlands and high plateaus of central, the eastern sub-region and highlands of the western sub-region have mean seasonal temperature of 15-200c during the same season. In the same token, the low plateaus of the eastern sub-region (upper rift scarps, gradational slopes Chelbi area in south-western Borena), central Guji, the Rift lakes region, the Ghibe and upper Didessa, upper Baro and Dabus valleys experience comparatively high mean temperature ranging from 20 to 250c. The Adal plain in the northern extreme of the rift system, south-eastern Borena and Guji, northeastern Bale and Baro valley have very high mean seasonal temperature of over 250c.

Ganna is a season of high incoming solar insulation in the region. However, due to high cloud cover, most areas of Shewa, Hararghe, Arsi-Bale, Jimma highlands experience low mean seasonal temperature of 10-150C during this period. However, during this season lowlands of Western Oromia, Borana, Bale and Hararghe enjoy a warm mean temperature of 20-250C. Birra and Bona are seasons of lowest angle of the sun due to apparent shift to South of the equator, in most of Oromia. Hence, expect for lowlands of Borana, Bale Hararghe that still experiences relatively warm to hot weather (200c to 250c), it is period of least cloud cover and low temperature (10-150c) for most areas of the Region. Mean seasonal temperature of over 250c is limited to only the south-eastern extreme Guji and Bale zones. Generally, the region experiences annual temperature ranging from 100c to 300c, with mean annual temperature of 190c, where the highlands and mountainous areas in the 13 region receive lowest mean annual temperature, while lowlands and valley bottoms get highest mean annual temperature records (ORHB, 2009; BoFED, 2008).

Natural Resources Base and Land Use Systems

Oromia Regional State is endowed with diverse natural resources. It has abundant surface and ground water resources, forests and wildlife resources. The type and existing situations of these resources and their spatial distribution in the region have been summarized as follows.

Forests and Vegetation Cover

Vegetation cover of the National Regional State of Oromia accounts for about 69% of the total area of the Region. Afro-Alpine and Sub-Afro Alpine, High forest, Woodland, Riverine, Grassland, Plantations, and Bush and Shrub lands are major types of vegetation. Out of the 58 National Forest Priority Areas of the Country, 49 are found in Oromia. Their areal coverage accounts for about 8.1% of the total surface area of the Region.

Wildlife Resource

The Regional State of Oromia is characterized by diversified relief features, which form favorable habitats for quite a large variety of fauna and flora. The Region represents the whole range of Ethiopian wildlife resource. There are three national parks (Bale Mountains, Awash and Abijatta Shalla) and regional (Dhera Zilfekar), five sanctuaries (Sankalle, Yabello, Babile, Erer-fafen and Kuni Muktar) and three wildlife reserves (Awash, Bale and Chelbi) and many controlled hunting areas that hosted mammals, birds, grazers, browsers and hunters. The wildlife of the Region includes endemic and highly endangered species. Among these, Awash National Park alone has 400 species of birds and 46 species of animals like lion, Grivet Monkey, Beissa Oryx, Greater Kudu, Lesser Kudu, Swaynes Hartebeest, Hamadryas Baboon, Anubis Baboon, Defaffa Waterbuck and Salts Dikdik. Bale Mountains National Park, has 200 bird species (like Wattled Ibis, Black-winged, Lovebird, Wattled Crane, Rougets Rail, etc) and 46 mammals including Mt. Nyala, Red Fox, Meneliks Bushbuck, Duiker, Warthog, Leopard, Bohor Reedbuck, Serval Cat, Colobus Monkey and Anubis Baboon. And, Abijata-Shalla Lakes National Park hosts 367 different species of birds (like Great White Pelicans, Greater and Lesser Flamingos and Sacred Ibis) and 31 species of mammals (spotted hyena, Golden and Black Backed Jackals, Olive Baboon, Grants gazelle, etc). In addition, there are elephants, cheetahs, buffalo, Oribi Warthog, Bohor Reedbuck, Civet Cat and various birds and other wildlife species in sanctuaries, reserves and controlled hunting areas in the Region.

Water Resources

Oromia National Regional State is rich for its abundant surface and ground water resource potentials. Large areas of the region are drained by many major rivers, streams and lake basins. The volume of water discharge of surface drainage of Oromia is determined by climatic condition, while its relief controls the flow pattern of rivers. High seasonal fluctuation and variation of climatic condition characterize precipitation of the Region. So, the volume of discharge is subjected to high fluctuation, sporadic flash of flood as a result of torrential tropical rains in summer and dry channels for some rivers and streams in dry season.

Mineral Resources

In Oromia, in general, due to intensified mineralization of rocks through crystallization in the process of metamorphosis, the rocks of crystalline basement complex form important sources of minerals, particularly ferrous, non-ferrous metals and precious minerals. Sedimentary rocks of the Mesozoic era, particularly the organogenesis marine sediments are considered to have high potential for mineral oil and natural gas. Shales and stromatoloid sediments buried by overlain rock strata were subjected to pressure and heat subsequently forming oil and gas that may be reserved in permeable rocks. The Mesozoic rocks are also considered as sources of metallic minerals such as lead, zinc and silver. In addition, they form important sources of limestone, salts, glass sands, cement limestone, and other industrial and construction minerals. Cenozoic rocks of Oromia form important potential sources of salt, potassium and calcium minerals. Intensified weathering process have most probably induced the formation of iron and aluminum (bauxite) deposits. Continued volcanic activity has created conducive condition for great potentiality of geothermal energy in the Rift valley of Oromia. In general, there are various types of mineral deposits known through mineralogical investigations and occurrences in Oromia. The various minerals occurring in the region consist of coal and iron, precious metals (gold and platinum), and non-ferrous minerals (Beryllium, Cobalt, Chromium, Copper, Molybdenum, Lead, Titanium, Uranium etc).


Soil is one of the most important natural resources on which our food supplies directly or indirectly depend. The highlands of Oromia are relatively dominated by fertile soils of volcanic origin. However, some soils may be too acidic or basic, while others may be ferrogenous, sodic or saline. In general, there are 14 major soil units/types in the Region, which are derived from the soil formation phases. The dominant soil types of the Region are Nitosols found on flat to sloppy terrain in high rainfall areas, Vertisols found on flat waterlogged areas, Cambisols found on slopes of Bale, southwest of West Harerghe and Arsi, Luvisols and Acrisols mostly found on sloppy terrain of the Region.

Energy Resources

The available energy sources in the region include biomass (wood and animal excreta), kerosene, electric, solar, and biogas. However, most of them are not well developed and used. Thus, firewood is the most important source of domestic energy supply both in urban and rural areas of Oromia. This large dependency on such biomass energy sources, of course, accelerates deforestation in the Region. Even though about 97% of the total hydroelectric power of the country is generated from Oromia, many towns and villages in the region lack this modern source of energy. Only about 183 urban centers in the Region have electric light services (BoFED, 2008).

Land Use Systems

The land use pattern in Oromia region correlates with its population distribution and climatic conditions. The major land use patterns include cultivation, forest of different types, woodland, bushes, wetlands, grasslands, barren and settlement areas. The largest proportion of land is under grassland land use type, 33.87%. These areas are vast range lands and unsettled grazing lands mainly in Borana, Bale, Guji, East Shewa and West Hararghe. The agricultural land covered by crops (season and perennial) makes 28.36%, is the second largest category. The highlands of Bale, Arsi, Shewa, Hararghe, Jimma, Ilu Abba Bor, and Wellega that grow various cereal and cash crops (including coffee, chat, fruits) account for this land use pattern. Other land use patterns include forest (8.14%), woodland (2.67%), exposed rocks and barren (2%) and other small coverage (like wetlands, settlements, riverine vegetation, water bodies etc), according to BoFED, 2008. Population

According to the population and housing census report of CSA (2007), the total population of Oromia National Regional State is 27, 158,471million, which accounted 36.7% of the total countrys population. In Oromia National Regional State the rural population is 23,788,431 which represents 87.8% of the total population of the region, while the urban population is 3,858,567, which accounts 12.2%. Of the total population in the national regional state, women constitute about 49.6%, while men constitute 50.4%. According to CSA (2007), the annual population growth rate of the national regional state is 2.9.

Regarding the age distribution of the Region, it is typical of developing countries, i.e., it is characterized by higher proportion of young ages (0-14) and low proportion of old age (65 years and above), reflecting the prevailing of higher fertility rate. Young population of the age less than 15 years accounted for about 46.4% while adult and old age populations accounted for about 50.2 and 3.4% of the total Regional population, respectively in 2007. Based on dependency ratio, that is, the young and old age dependency ratio (0-14 age group + 65 and above age group) of the Region is 99% (92% for the young and 6.9% for the old). This means that for each 100 persons in the economically active age groups there are about 99 young and old dependents to be supported in the Region. As per CSA (2007), the region has an estimated average crude population density of 77 persons per square kilometer. The total family size of the region is 4.8, with 5.0 for rural areas and 3.8 persons for urban areas. As the Census result of 2007 indicates, the total number of households was 5,638,268, with 4,746,381 rural and 891,887 urban households. The religious composition of the population of the region is 47.5% Muslims, 30.4% Orthodox Christians, 17.7% Protestants, and 3.3% traditional, 0.5% catholic and 0.6% were followers of other religions. In terms of ethnic composition, based on CSA (2007) census result, the major ethnic groups within the regional State include 85% Oromo, 9.1% Amhara and the remaining 5.9% constitute other ethnic groups. Afan Oromo, presently inscribed with Latin characters, is the official language of Oromia National Regional State. Religion and Cultural practices The Oromo have rich culture. The Oromo had a well-developed age-based system grouping upon which the religious, political, economic and social life of the people was based. Among others, the Gada system which organizes Oromo society into age groups and rotates leadership in egalitarian democracy every eight years is most remarkable. The system has always guided the religious, social, political, and economic life of the Oromo people. The institution is still functional in different part of Oromia along with the modern administration system. In the Gada system, elders, considered to be wiser, were responsible for teaching, resolving conflicts, and nurturing Oromo culture. Seniority is thus an important factor in Oromo relationships. The system helps to exercise democracy, participatory government and leadership.


On the other hand, before the expansion of Islam and Christianity, the Oromo had their own traditional African religion called Waaqeffannaa, the belief in Waaq (the supreme God). The religion teaches safuu (do's and don'ts) for Oromo that helped them to live together in peace, prosperity and faithfulness to each other. Crop Production Like most part of Ethiopia mixed farming dominates the livelihood of the region. Land is an important asset of households for production of crops and rearing of livestock. Livestock serves as a source of manure and fuel, pay land tax, fertilizers and as a saving to buffer bleak seasons of food/seed shortage. Oxen are the major ploughing engines. Donkeys, horses and mules play a significant role in transportation of people, water, and goods. Due to the high complexity and strong inter-linkage between crop production and livestock tending, it is difficult to consider the two livelihoods separately (Aune et al. 2006).Oromia has the largest livestock resources base in Ethiopia. Cattle, sheep, goats, donkey, and camels are the major types of animals reared and there are about 18.8 million tropical livestock units (TLU) in the region. According to BoFED (2008), agriculture remains by far the most important sector in the Regions economy. Over 90% of the people of Oromia live in the rural area, and agriculture has been remained the source of livelihood for the overwhelming majority of the people of the region. The main crops produced the region include maize, teff, wheat, barely, peas, bean and various types of oil seeds. Coffee is the main cash crop in the region. Oromia accounts for 51.2% of the crop production, 45.1% of the area under temporary crops and 44% of the total livestock population of Ethiopia By virtue of relatively abundant rainfall, suitable soils and other agricultural potentialities, Oromia remains the major crop producing region in the country. Accordingly, Oromia has accounted for 49% of major food crops production, 50.8% of cereals, 37% of pulses and 43.56% of oil crops production of total peasant holdings of the country in 2002 /03 Production year (CSA, 1994 E.C).

Coffee is the major source of foreign exchange for the country accounting for 5060% of total exports. Oromia accounted for 77.6 percent of coffee plantation as per the 19962000 plan evaluation report and delivered annually about 68% of coffee destined for foreign 26 market. Similarly, out of 53 districts known for Coffee production in the country 42 (79%) are found in


Oromia showing the tremendous resource base the region is endowed with. However, the sector is characterized by small-scale farmers who are dependent on low input and low output rain fed mixed farming with traditional technologies dominate the agricultural sector thereby the production fails to catch up with the rapidly growing population size and needs (BoFED, 2008 and CEEPA, 2006). Livestock Resource Livestock plays a significant role in the economy of the country as well as the Region in general and the farmers and households in particular, with variations in significance from lowlanders of pastoralist society to highlanders of farming community. In general, they provide food (milk, meat, egg, hides and skins, etc), draught power for cultivation, serve as a means of transportation and as a saving or hoarding. They are also kept for prestige as an indication of social status and wealth in the society. The livestock population size of private farmers holdings of rural Oromia was estimated at 51 million heads (excluding livestock population of Chinakson and Dawe Serer Weredas), that is about 40.3% of the total countrys livestock population in 2006/07 (1999 E.C). As the CSA (2006/07) report on livestock, poultry and beehives population indicated, Oromia accounts for about 45.7 percent of the cattle, 39.3 percent of the sheep and 31.7 percent of the goats stock of the country. The proportion of horses, donkeys, mules and camels share of the Region from the countrys total is 63.2, 45.8, 49.3 and 21.3 percent respectively. Moreover, 37.2 percent of the countrys total poultry and 55.9 percent of the beehives are found in Oromia.

Pastoral and agro pastoral Communities

Pastoralism, a livelihood system based on animal herding, has endured for centuries as a rational adaptation to often harsh and erratic grassland environments. Founded on mobility and flexibility, the pastoral system optimizes the use of natural resources to maintain the livestock on which pastoralists depend for their well-being. At present, 33 pastoral and agro-pastoral districts of Oromia National Region State are found in 6 zones (Borana, Guji, Bale, east Hararghe, east Shewa and west Hararghe). The pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of the Region covers about 152,170km2, accounting for about 37% of the total area of the Region. Its total human population size is estimated to be about 4 million


whereas about 30% of the livestock population of the Region is found in pastoral and agro pastoral areas.

The pastoral and agro-pastoral areas usually receive bimodal, variable, erratic distribution and insufficient amount of annual rainfall. The main rainy season occurs between March to late May and the short rainy season is between October and November. Their average temperature ranges from 250c-350c whereas annual rainfall average is 400-700mm. The major livelihood bases of the pastoralists of the region is livestock whereas that of the agro pastoralists is livestock production integrated with crop farming. Livelihoods of pastoral communities in Oromia The key livelihood of the pastoral and agro pastoral areas is livestock rearing coupled with crop production. Most households have relatively larger areas of communal grazing lands. As a result, the rangeland and the livestock holdings have made the rural pastoral communities primarily dependent on livestock and livestock products and the rest from crops. This implies that livestock is the most important economic sources as compared to the other type of economic activities, because livestock and livestock products are the major sources of food, cash and asset for most households.

Even though the type of livestock rearing depends on the area and importance, the main livestock species reared in both the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas are cattle, goats, camels and donkeys and used for wealth ranking. Cattle are primarily used for milk and asset while goats are used as source of income and camels for milk and transportation. Donkeys are used as pack animals, providing transportation in rural areas. Traditional and extensive livestock rearing system is practiced both in the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas. The feed source for livestock is from homestead during the rainy season and migration to the dry season grazing areas for better pasture and water including to the neighboring highland areas.

The main source of food in all the pastoral and agro pastoral areas is livestock product followed by maize from own harvest, purchase of cereals (maize) from market and food aid. However, the food sources for different wealth groups differ in that the better off and wealthy groups mainly depend on milk and maize production while the very poor and poor families mainly depend on

purchase, wild food and food aid. Major cash income source for the households in all wealth groups is from livestock sales. Better off and middle income households generate income from sell of goats, camels and cattle. The very poor and poor also sale few goats and generate additional income from sell of firewood, charcoal and labor.

Settlement patterns and Distribution of Pastoral Communities The settlements in the pastoral areas of the region are predominantly and traditional based on



management and easy access to resources. This means, settlements are strongly based on well established clusters (Madda) and grazing lands (dheda). The residents of each grazing lands depend on common water sources called Madda. The individual well clusters (Madda) are surrounded by grazing lands (Dheeda). The settlement patterns thus, are clustered rather than scattered in the pastoral areas of the region.

Communities of the pastoral area move from one place to another in search of water and pasture during dry periods. This mobility enables them to exploit and utilize widely

Figure 3 Settlement pattern of Borena pastoral areas, Oromia Region

dispersed pastures at times when they are nutritious. The movements also facilitate an

escape from drought and diseases both locally and across national boundaries. Herd separation and splitting into either homebased or satellite camps are crucial for mobility and resource management. This ensures minimal use of the water and pastures reserved for dry-period grazing. The Borana also parcel out livestock among relatives (dabarre) living in different geographical locations to increase the

chances of survival during droughts or outbreak of disease.

Communal land ownership and management of natural resources are central to

pastoralism because they ensure that herd owners can move freely in search of water and pasture in different locations at different seasons of the year.