By Dawit Endeshaw |

“If donors do not give us the needed assistance, the government will handle it on its own,” said Mitiku Kassa, state minister for Agriculture speaking at a press conference at the premises of the Ministry on Friday September 4, 2015.

Ethiopia needs urgent humanitarian assistance of 230 million dollars, according to a joint statement by the government and development partners released a couple of weeks ago. So far only 700 million Br has been availed, and all of that from the government of Ethiopia, with international emphasis still focusing on crises in Syria, Nepal and other hotspots, as well as the immigration crisis in Europe, Mitiku said.

Government’s response is meant to address the animal feed problem, including providing fast growing seeds, herbicides, and insecticides and for undertaking water conservation works.

The Oromia Regional Government has also allocated 500 million Br from its own budget, Mitiku said, adding that the government has already began procurement procedures to boost its strategic grain reserve from 451,000tn to 1.5 million tonnes.

The Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service also sent out invitations two weeks ago for suppliers to buy 222,000tn of wheat as part of strategic grain reserve, said Melkamu Defali, communication head of the service. So far there have been no suppliers that have expressed interest to bid for the supply.

Ethiopia has a food reserve of 451,000tn, which the government now plans to increase to 1.5 million tonnes as part of the second Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II).

Food insecurity will remain a concern in Belg receiving southern, central, eastern and north eastern parts of Ethiopia until the next Belg harvest in June 2016, according to a weekly humanitarian bulletin by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), released on August 31, 2015.

“Uninterrupted and timely assistance over the next months is vital for vulnerable households in these areas,” reads the report.

In relation to the ongoing El Niño impact on the Kiremt season and then the Meher harvest season, the same kinds of team from government and humanitarian partners will assess the impact and finally a same report will be released on January 2016.

So far El Niño is also affecting the Kiremt season and the same humanitarian bulletin speculates that there will be a significant reduces in the Meher harvest season. While it has caused rain shortages, it is also expected to cause heavy rains and flooding in areas close to rivers in the coming October to December 2015.

This implies that additional funds will be needed to overcome the extended impact of El Niño.

Source: Addis Fortune
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