In Tigray, Ethiopia, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is scaling up the urgent procurement of fertilizers to help farmers sow their fields thanks to a US$ 10 million from the United Nation’s Central Emergency fund.
Since conflict erupted in November 2020, Tigray and other regions have seen the widespread disruption of agriculture, elevated levels of acute food insecurity, and loss of livelihoods.
The loan forms part of resource partners’ commitments to FAO, and the provision of fertilizers will help farmers sow their fields during the critical planting season. However, this support must be delivered and applied by the end of the month.
David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and interim Representative for Ethiopia, said that if farmers receive the inputs they need, they will be able to harvest and begin consuming this produce from October 2022.
“These harvests would cover their food needs for at least six months, and in the best-case scenario, up to the next harvest for a significant proportion of the households, with surplus to sell,” he added.
Up to 80 per cent of Ethiopians depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood, especially those living in rural areas, and their produce feeds the nation. However, since conflict erupted in November 2020, Tigray and other regions have seen the widespread disruption of agriculture, elevated levels of acute food insecurity, and loss of livelihoods.
“There is a small window of opportunity to prevent severe hunger by delivering critical agricultural inputs and enable farmers to produce sufficient amount of food for the population thus averting a potential increase in humanitarian needs,” said Rein Paulsen, Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience.
FAO said that with rainfall performing well, coupled with a favorable outlook, the season offers a crucial and cost-effective opportunity to improve food production and availability across the region.
FAO said the aim is to provide the total requirement of 60,000 tonnes to Tigray. The UN agency and partners have so far procured just over 19,000 tonnes of fertilizer, enough to meet the needs of some 380,000 households, and a first batch of 7,000 tonnes has already been distributed to farmers.
The agency has previously benefited from CERF loans in 2017 to avert the risk of famine in Somalia, and to support Desert Locust control operations in the Horn of Africa in 2020 and most recently, a US$12 million loan to provide emergency agriculture and livestock supplies to thousands of farming and pastoral communities in Sudan.