he Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) on Wednesday warned critically low supplies of fertilizers are endangering food security in Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region.
In its latest report, FAO said farmers in parts of northern Ethiopia are in serious danger of losing the main planting season which lasts from June to August if they don’t receive urgent support from the international community to sow their fields.
“Most farmers in the Tigray region have completed land preparation and are waiting for the onset of the rains. However, limited access to agricultural inputs, particularly fertilizers and seeds, is a major threat to the season,” the FAO report said.
The FAO report said it’s seeking to mobilize 96 million U.S. dollars immediately to purchase fertilizers at cost price, but so far it’s only been able to mobilize 11 million U.S. dollars.
“The importance of supporting food production in Tigray cannot be overstressed. It is highly unlikely that the region will be able to produce sufficient food for its population without the appropriate seeds and fertilizers,” the FAO report further warned.
The FAO report said if support is provided in time for the ongoing planting season, families in the Tigray region will be able to harvest and start consuming staple foods by October 2022.
On Friday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) disclosed fuel and cash shortages are hampering humanitarian relief operations in Tigray region.
Humanitarian aid is recently heading to Tigray region after the Ethiopian government and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) agreed to a conditional cessation of hostilities and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid into the region.
The TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Force, backed by allied forces, have been engaged in a 19-month conflict that has reportedly left tens of thousands of people dead and millions of others in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
The Tigray conflict has also spilled into border areas of neighboring Afar and Amhara regions causing the deaths of thousands of civilians and massive displacement of civilians.
The Ethiopian parliament designated the TPLF as a terrorist organization in May 2021.