Farmers in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region are hopeful to increase their productivity during the current planting season, thanks to a loan from the United Nations that has enabled them to access critical agricultural input.

Northern Ethiopia farmers hope for increased productivity

The $10 million loan from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund will allow the Food and Agriculture Organization to scale up procurement of fertilizers to support the farmers during the current planting season. Through the funds, the UN agency has procured 12,000 metric tons of fertilizer, part of the 19,000 tons procured through the government of Ethiopia. The first batch of 7,000 tons has already been distributed to farmers. However, FAO said the fertilizer which is expected to benefit 380,000 households represents 40 percent of the requirement. Nevertheless, authorities are hopeful that more fertilizer could be made available should FAO and partners mobilize further funding. The aim is to procure 60,000 tons of fertilizer to Tigray.

David Phiri, FAO sub-regional coordinator for Eastern Africa and interim representative for Ethiopia, said farmers will be able to harvest and begin consuming the produce from October if they receive the inputs they need. “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 said. The current May-September planting season locally known as Meher, is the most important season for crop production in Tigray. With the rainfall performing well, coupled with a favorable outlook, FAO said the season offers a crucial and cost-effective opportunity to improve food production and availability across the region.

“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,” Rein Paulsen, director of FAO’s office of emergencies and resilience said. Ethiopia has been experiencing one of the most severe La Niña-induced droughts in the last 40 years following four consecutive failed rainy seasons since late 2020. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, about 17 million people are in need of assistance within drought affected areas for the second half of the year, an increase from 8.1 million people targeted in the first half of the year.

Source: This news is originally published by chinadaily

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