June 4 /2022 /ENA/ Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said it is working to benefit 620,000 households in conflict affected areas of northern Ethiopia by providing agricultural inputs.

Eastern Africa and FAO Representative to the African Union, Chimimba David Phiri told ENA that FAO is committed to supporting the government of Ethiopia to better support its citizens in northern parts of the country.

In 2022, FAO targets to provide 620,000 households in northern Ethiopia not only with provision of inputs but also agricultural production, particularly crop production, he added.

It is also providing livestock services with regard to treatment of animal diseases and  vaccinations as well as rehabilitation of agriculture related infrastructure.  

According to Phiri, the organization has been working with Ministry of Agriculture and other related ministers to support Ethiopians that may need help with regard to improving agricultural production and productivity.

“I have told you of 620,000 households that we are targeting in northern Ethiopia. In this case I am talking of Tigray, Amhara and Afar that were mostly affected by the internal conflict. So, of these over 268,000 are in Tigray, 186 thousand in Afar, and 150,000 in Amhara. So, we are targeting these particular households to provide agricultural inputs starting with seeds, training and extension.” 

The representative further explained that FAO has so far reached about 230,000 households in Tigray alone, with 400 metric tons of seeds. “ We are also supporting in Tigray multiplication of 25 metric tons of seed. In Amhara, we have provided about 100 metric tons of seed and in Afar, we have provided 4 metric tons of seed.”

With regard to treatment of animal diseases, in partnership with Tigray Regional Bureau of Agriculture, FAO has vaccinated 3.5 million animals. And in Afar, it has so far provided animal health services for 230,000 livestock.

FAO is very much involved as the lead organization for agriculture, food security and nutrition in coordinating the activities of all other UN partners in these fields.

Phiri pointed out an example, saying that right now the organization is coordinating the importation of fertilizer with three partners, mostly NGOs that are importing through the support of the FAO.

The Meher season is coming up and FAO has already pre-positioned itself to supply the necessary seeds, the necessary farming tools but also fertilizer.

“We are in the process of buying 6,700 tons. But we do expect that in the next few weeks. We may reach beyond the 25,000 tons targeted for northern Ethiopia alone, not counting the sort of inputs that we provide elsewhere.”

In the northern Ethiopia in particular FAO had difficulty reaching all parts but now “we are in the situation where the conflict has gone down significantly. We are able to reach more and more areas.”

Commenting on the humanitarian truce declared by the Government of Ethiopia in March 2022, he said, “I’m very happy that the conflict is dying down because it provides opportunity for the farmers to go about their business of doing what they know best — that is farming, and FAO promotes farming as a business.”

However, the representative elaborated that the role of FAO is to support the government and the people by doing capacity building and so on, and providing emergency aid, and the inputs necessary for the communities to start.

It does not have in many cases a lot of funds. So the organization very much relies on the donor communities to provide resources and sometimes this resource not always comes on time. And once if they don’t come on time, there is a problem also on delivery.

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