The Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) – one of the seven scientific institutes of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) – has published an assessment of the Bahri season in Eritrea.

The Bahri season is characterized by small rains, from November to February, in the eastern lowlands Red zobas and the escarpment of North Red Zoba due to the humid winds off the Red Sea. 

Even if this is not the main agricultural season, Bahri rains are very important for pastoral livelihood systems and for grazing in coastal areas, says IES.

The report coincides with last week’s “freek” storm which is said to have caused by far the heaviest rain ever recorded in the Eritrean capital Asmara. This kind of weather is atypical for periods outside the main rainy season between June and September.

Eritrea covers about 117,600 km2 of complex landscape and climatic features, which give way to a wide variety of agro-ecological zones. Agriculture and pastoralism are the main livelihoods for 80 per cent of Eritrea who are dependent on their environment and rainfall. Rural population relying on agriculture and livestock grazing are exposed to rainfall fluctuations that could affect the vegetation development.


After the inadequate rainfall of the last Kremti season, between late June and September, which negatively influence the 2013 cropping season harvesting, the Bahri season started last November.

The 2013/2014 Bahri rains have been generally satisfactory in North Red Sea Region, with an early start in the second half of November and rainfall ongoing until the end of February.

The usual rainfall deficit in January impacted February’s vegetation slightly negative, while the positive effect of the good February rainfall is expected to become visible in March, according to the report.

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