The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will be able to increase fertilizer purchases to support farmers in the unrest-plagued Tigray region of northern Ethiopia thanks to a $10 million loan from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the agency stated on Monday.
Tigray and adjacent regions have seen severe agricultural disruption, high levels of acute food insecurity, and loss of livelihoods since violence first broke out in November 2020.
The provision of fertilizers will assist farmers in planting their fields during the crucial planting season as part of resource partners’ commitments to FAO. However, before the end of the month, this support must be provided and used.
Farmers will be able to harvest and start eating this produce in October 2022 if they get the inputs they need. For a substantial number of the households, these harvests would provide enough food to last for at least six months, and in the ideal case, up until the following harvest, with extra to sell, he said.
The Director of the FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience, Rein Paulsen, however, emphasized the broader ramifications.
In order to help farmers produce enough food for the population and avoid a potential rise in humanitarian needs, he continued, “there is a tiny window of time to prevent acute hunger.”
Feeding the nation
Up to 80% of Ethiopians, particularly those who reside in rural regions, rely on agriculture as their primary means of subsistence, and the country is fed by the crops they grow.
Meher, the primary growing period, is the most crucial time of year in Tigray for crop production.
According to the FAO, the current season presents a critical and affordable chance to increase food production and availability throughout the region due to rainfall’s strong performance and favorable forecast.
Just over 19,000 tonnes of fertilizer, or 40% of the required amount, have already been purchased by the UN agency and its partners. A first batch of 7,000 tonnes has already been sent to farmers, which is enough to supply the needs of almost 380,000 homes.
The additional 12,000 tonnes and a comparable FAO allotment were acquired under the CERF loan. The loans are secured by funding obtained from a bilateral donor; further information will be provided after an agreement is signed.
The Ethiopian government was used to obtain the 19,000 tonnes of fertilizer, and officials there have said that further fertilizer might be made available if FAO and its partners can raise additional funds.
According to FAO, if finances are available, the goal is to give Tigray the 60,000 tonnes it needs in total.
The organization has already benefited from CERF funds in 2017 to reduce the likelihood of Somalia going hungry and in 2020 to support Desert Locust control activities in the Horn of Africa.