Addis Ababa, 9 August 2022 (TDI): A $10 million loan from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will allow the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to scale up the procurement of fertilizers to support farmers in restive Tigray region of northern Ethiopia.

Tigray and adjacent regions have seen severe agricultural disruption, high levels of acute food insecurity, and loss of livelihoods since the conflict erupted in Tigray in November 2020.

Moreover, 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, the delivery of this assistance will be at the end of the month.

Response from the FAO’s dignitaries 

David Phiri, the interim representative for Ethiopia and subregional coordinator for Eastern Africa for the FAO praised partners and CERF for recognizing the need for action.

According to him, farmers will be able to harvest and begin consuming this produce from October 2022 if they get the inputs they need. For a substantial number of 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 a surplus to sell.

Meanwhile, the Director of the FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience, Rein Paulsen emphasized the broader ramifications.

He also added that to help farmers produce enough food for the population and avoid a potential rise in humanitarian needs, “there is a tiny window of opportunity to prevent acute hunger.”

Significance of the food security in the region

Up to 80% of Ethiopians, particularly those who reside in rural regions, rely on agriculture as their primary means of subsistence, and their produce feeds the nation.

As per FAO, with the rainfall performing well, coupled with a favorable outlook, the season presents a critical and affordable chance to increase food production and availability throughout the region.

Furthermore, the UN agency and its partners have procured over 19,000 tons of fertilizer, or 40% of the required amount. This is enough to supply the needs of almost 380,000 homes. Moreover, they have supplied the first batch of 7,000 tons to the farmers.

Demographics to meet the needs

The additional 12,000 tons and a comparable FAO allotment were acquired under the CERF loan. The loans are secured by funding obtained from a bilateral donor, with more details to follow once the agreement is finalized.

Additionally, the Ethiopian government procured 19,000 tons of fertilizer. The authorities said that more fertilizer might be made available if FAO and its partners can raise additional funds.

Thus, according to FAO, if finances are available, the goal is to give Tigray the 60,000 tons it needs.

The agency has previously benefitted from CERF funds in 2017 to avert the risk of famine in Somalia and in 2020 to support Desert Locust control operations in the Horn of Africa.

Also read: US Supports Humanitarian Assistance to Ethiopia