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Friday, May 6, 2016

SOS: Ethiopia farmers need $10m to provide seeds

In less than five weeks to the main cropping season in Ethiopia, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called for urgent funding to the tune of $10 million, to help farmers sow their fields and prevent drought-hit areas of the country from falling deeper into hunger and food insecurity, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to FAO, if seeds are not delivered in time, help will be too late to secure a decent harvest from the imminent meher season, which produces 85 per cent of the nation's food supply.

FAO also said that while the food security situation is worsening, the overall funding response to the crisis has so far been disappointing, with just 15 percent of FAO's 2016 appeal for Ethiopia covered.

"The meher season will be critical to improving families' food security and self-sufficiency in 2016. Seed distributions allowing farmers to plant crops and produce food must be a humanitarian priority," said the agency's country representative Amadou Allahoury Diallo, stressing that decreasing dependence on external humanitarian assistance will diminish the costs of food aid.

Therefore, FAO said, some $10 million is needed within the next two weeks to distribute seeds to Ethiopian families at risk of hunger and losing their livelihoods.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that about 10.2 million people in Ethiopia are food insecure following successive crop failures and widespread livestock deaths caused by the El Niño-induced drought since early 2015. With this year's delayed and erratic spring rains, the situation may become worse in the most affected areas, particularly in the north.

Even as Ethiopia's government has already dedicated considerable resources to the El Niño response and is working closely with FAO to help ramp up joint efforts.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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