Ethiopia Needs $50m to Recover Food Production Hit by El Niño

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The United Nations says Ethiopia need $50m in emergency funding to recover from its worst drought in 30 years.

The latest El Niño weather phenomenon is the worst in decades with Ethiopia proving to be one of the hardest-hit nations. After 18 months of minimal rainfall, the country’s agricultural production is experiencing its worst decline since the famine that devastated Ethiopia and other parts of East Africa in the mid-80s.

 

A grim outlook for 2106

The UN has requested emergency funding to the sum of $50 million to put its recovery plan in action. Crop production has fallen by up to 90 percent in parts of the country and completely failed some regions. Livestock herds have also been hit hard by the impact of drought, leaving more than 10 million people in food insecurity.

FAO representative Amadou Allahoury has highlighted the importance of taking action now to prevent the situation from worsening.

“The outlook for 2016 is very grim,” he said. “After two consecutive seasons of failed crops, the success of the main cropping season that starts now will be critical to preventing conditions from worsening.”

 

Intervention needed

The FAO’s response plan will help almost 500,000 households recover from the impact of drought and help them protect themselves in the future. Ethiopia is the fastest-growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa, but it relies almost entirely on agriculture. This dependence on agriculture is part of the success story behind Ethiopia’s economic development, but it leaves the country perilously vulnerable to drought and other natural disasters.

“In Ethiopia, El Niño is not just a food crisis, it’s above all a livelihood crisis,” says Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergencies and Rehabilitation Division.

“And we need to intervene now to protect and rebuild these livelihoods and people’s capacity to produce, to prevent families from becoming long-term dependent on food aid.”