Gov’t, Partners Minimize Drought Damage in Ethiopia: Agriculture State Minister

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Addis Ababa August 17/2022 /ENA/The coordinated actions of the government and partners have minimized the degree of damage from drought in some parts of Ethiopia, Agriculture State Minister Fikru Regassa said.

He told ENA that drought has affected parts of SNNP, Oromia, and Somali regions over the past two years.

No one has died from the worst drought that Ethiopia has faced in many decades, the state minister noted.

“It is because of the concerted action of the government and partners that the degree of the damage by the drought is really minimized. It is mitigated very well.”

Yet, he revealed that about 1 million livestock have died from the drought.

“The impact was really on the livestock aspect where about a million animals died because of this drought; and that affected the country,” Fikru stated.

The government has been undertaking many activities, especially the resilient projects funded by the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

The projects focused on water development activities in drought-prone areas are the solution for the future.

The irrigation activities in the country, including the winter wheat production, are a major shift from rainfall-dependent agriculture and reliable initiatives to combat climate change-induced effects, particularly drought.   

Regarding the winter wheat production initiative, the state minister said “we are planning not only to meet the domestic demand. We are going to export it in the future as a source of foreign currency. And this is a big shift in the history of the country.”

According to him, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is among the institutions that initiated and coordinated funding for the resilience projects in Ethiopia.

The resilient projects are also run in the IGAD sub-region, namely Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.

IGAD Environment Protection Program Manager, Eshete Dejene said on his part that IGAD has a climate prediction center that forecasts climate changes and effects on the environment and was informing and engaging relevant actors on the drought in the IGAD region.

The manager pointed out that IGAD coordinated funding from partners and engaged with agriculture ministers in the region to respond to the drought-affected people and areas.

Activities that help to ensure food security in a sustainable way and coordinated response are critical, he added.  

More than 37 million people are facing acute hunger, with approximately seven million children under the age of five acutely malnourished in the region.

The UN agency is calling for the raising of 123.7 million USD to respond to rising health needs and prevent a food crisis from turning into a health crisis in one of the worst hunger crises of the last 70 years in the region.