Gov’t Stockpiled Emergency Food for Tigray, Distributed Agricultural Inputs, Say Officials

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Addis Ababa July 2/2021 (ENA) The federal government has reportedly stored huge emergency food supplies that could be distributed to the needy and distributed over 638,000 quintals of fertilizer to farmers ahead of the rainy season in Tigray region.

National Risk Management Commissioner, Mitiku Kassa told ENA yesterday that the government has stockpiled around 400,000 quintals of food and nutritious food at the Mekelle central warehouse.

Determined to provide support for citizens, the government has not spared resources to assist the needy in the region.

According to the commissioner, 2.5 million people, including the 700,000 displaced by the law enforcement operation, need humanitarian assistance.

Of those 1.8 million persons have been receiving humanitarian assistance under the safety net program for years before the law enforcement operation in region, he added.

In the first and second rounds humanitarian assistance, the Government of Ethiopia has covered 70 percent of the food supplied to the region with an outlay of 10 billion Birr.

Dismissing the outrageous allegation of some media outlets and individuals that starvation is being used “as a weapon of war” in Tigray, Commissioner, Mitiku noted that this is a baseless and totally unfounded accusation.

Mitiku clarified that the areas which are suspected of being affected by famine are under the five partner aid agencies, namely World Food Program (WFP), World Vision, Food for Hungry, and Care International, that have been distributing the food supplied by the Government of Ethiopia.

“These areas, specially central Tigray, south eastern and north-western parts of Tigray are 100 percent under the five operators, not under the Government of Ethiopia. In this regard, these five operators are responsible for the food that they are distributing to the beneficiaries in those areas,” he elaborated.

Following the unilateral ceasefire, Commissioner Mitiku said this is the time for the people of Tigray and the international community to realize the government’s efforts in providing  humanitarian assistance in difficult situations.

“Now the regional authorities and the people as well as the international communities will have time to think about the negative or positive aspects of things.  Despite the efforts of the government, the pressure from the international community has in particular been disappointing. None seem to have recognized its contribution so far,” Mitiku undescored.

The Government of Ethiopia has spent over 100 billion Birr to humanitarian activities alone in Tigray region during the past eight months.

Agriculture State Minister, Sani Redi said on his part that the government has distributed over 638,000 quintals of fertilizer to farmers from its central warehouses in Mekelle.

About 900,000 farmers in 50 woredas have been cultivating their land, he added.

The state minister explained that “if the farmers do not till the land this main agricultural season and we provide inputs to support the production of stable crops, the problem would be worse next year.”

Thus adequate inputs, fertilizers and improved seeds were given to farmers; and agricultural equipment provided for those whose equipment had been looted.

Sani pointed out it was unfortunately the government that has been accused of obstructing farming and denying assistance. But this government has imported more fertilizer than Tigray had been receiving in the past years. “We have also imported improved seeds, chemicals and even 200 tractors.”

Therefore, those entities that claim to stand for the people must now support the farmer to be stable and engage in farming activities, the state minister underscored.

He also called on international organizations to support the humanitarian effort and ensure that the farmers are able to carry out agricultural activities.