February 2003, Rome - FAO on Thursday launched a $3.2
million appeal to fund emergency projects in drought-stricken
Ethiopia where over 11 million people face food shortages.
The UN food agency said that currently
11.3 million people needed food assistance.
An acute drought has caused herds of animals to die
due to lack of water and pastureland and led to outbreaks of
diseases as animals migrate in search of water.
The lack of rainfall has withered the maize and
sorghum harvests which account for 40 percent of Ethiopia's
total agricultural production.
"Due to the rapid deterioration of the food
security situation, there is urgent need for emergency
interventions in most fields," FAO said, "If
agricultural and livestock production activities in Ethiopia are
not restored soon, the food security situation of the most
vulnerable people will continue to deteriorate."
FAO's nine projects, in collaboration
with the Government of Ethiopia, aim to:
increase food production;
* enable farmers to
respond to drought conditions;
* assist livestock
farmers by supporting affected animals;
They will include supplying livestock, seeds and feed,
tools, technical equipment and training in water management
techniques to reach food security and boost the agricultural
sector which accounts for 45 percent of the Ethiopian economy.
Over 11 million hectares are farmed in the
country but less than 200 000 hectares are irrigated, leaving
farmers highly vulnerable to changes in rainfall and
fluctuations in the prices of crops.
2002 alone, Ethiopia produced 25 percent less cereals and pulses
than the previous year.
The FAO emergency
projects will include:
* distribution of
wheat, barley, sorghum, maize and teff seeds and training to
deal with drought to 400 000 farmers in the Amhara and Oromiya
* provision of crucial veterinary
instruments and refresher training for government vets in
Amhara, Oromiya, Somali and Afar to benefit 600 000 farmers.
* livestock to replenish herds for 120 000 livestock
farmers in Afar and Tigray, in northern Ethiopia.
The projects, which focus on the needs of farmers,
female-headed households and landless young people, aim to
strengthen farming techniques and bolster production to free
Ethiopians from their precarious state where drought spells
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