Dispersed Settlement, Timely Input Supply Reduces COVID-19 Impact on Agriculture: Ministry

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Addis Ababa, August 25/2020(ENA) The agriculture sector in Ethiopia has not been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to dispersed settlement and the use of family labor in rural communities coupled with timely input distribution to this year’s farming season, Ministry of Agriculture said. 

Speaking to ENA, State Minister of Agriculture, Mandefro Nigussie said that farmers in the rural areas have not deterred their day to day agricultural activities because of the pandemic.

“This is partly due to the dispersed settlement of the communities in the rural areas and the use of family labor for their farming activities,” he stated adding that these have hindered the spread of the virus and reduced its impact on the agriculture sector.

The timely delivery of agricultural inputs including seeds, fertilizers and chemicals as well as earlier preparations undertaken to expedite the agricultural activities of this rainy season have also contributed to reduce the impact, the State Minister pointed out.  

For that reason, the nation was able to cover about 85 percent of the targeted 12.89 million hectares of the farm land by seed during this summer (Meher) season, Mandefro said.

The remaining 15 percent of the farm land is also expected to be covered with variety of crops at the end of this rainy season.   

However, he added that given the current alarming rate of reported cases, his ministry is working with pertinent stakeholders to combat the spread of the virus in the rural areas and to reduce its future impact on the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the entire economy of country.

According to him, extensive public awareness activities are being underway across the communities about the disease, using various media outlets and other convenient mediums including mobile phones.   

As of Monday, Ethiopia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 42,143 which is the highest number of cases in the East Africa region. 

Addis Ababa, the capital city of the country is the epicenter of the virus with 70 percent of all confirmed cases so far reported.

Ethiopia is currently conducting nationwide massive COVID-19 testing campaign aimed at weighing the overall status of the pandemic and devise ways to contain the spread of the virus.