Estimates and Crop Assessment Division
Foreign Agricultural Service
Ethiopians since antiquity have broadly divided their
climate into five zones based on elevation. Each zone has its own pattern
rainfall pattern and agricultural production system. In general, the highland
zones (Dega and Wiena Dega zones) contain most of the agricultural
areas, while the semi-arid and arid lowlands zones (Kolla and Behera)
are dominated by livestock in agro-pastoral and pastoral production systems.
Each agro-climatic zone is described below.
- Wurch (Cold highlands): Areas above 3000 meters
and annual rainfall is above 2200-mm. Barley is the dominate crop and light
frost often forms at night.
- Dega (Cool, humid, highlands): Areas from
2500-3000 meters where annual rainfall ranges from 1200 to 2200-mm. Barley
and wheat are the dominate crops.
- Weina Dega (Temperate, cool sub-humid, highlands):
Areas between 1500 to 2500 meters, where annual rainfall ranges from
800-1200-mm. This is where most of the population lives and all regional types
of crops are grown, especially teff.
- Kolla (Warm, semi-arid lowlands): Areas below
1500 meters with annual rainfall ranges from 200-800 mm. Sorghum and corn are
grown, with teff grown in the better areas. The kolla is warm year
round and temperatures range from 27 to 50 degrees Celsius.
- Bereha (Hot and hyper-arid): General term that
refers to the extreme form of kolla, where annual rainfall is less than 200-mm.
The bereha has desert type vegetation where pastoralism is the main
economic activity. This area encompasses the Denakil Depression, the Eritrean
lowlands, the eastern Ogaden, the deep tropical valleys of the Blue Nile and
Tekezé rivers, and the peripheral areas along the Sudanese and Kenyan
Agroclimatic Zones of Ethiopia
more information, contact Curt Reynolds
with the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division, at