FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 2/01 - Eritrea

The food situation continues to be tight for nearly 1.8 million people affected by the war with Ethiopia and last year's drought. The 2000 cereal crop was sharply reduced due to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers from the agriculturally rich regions of Gash Barka and Debub, accounting for more than 70 percent of cereal production. The total cereal output is provisionally estimated at 71 000 tonnes, a decrease of 66 percent from the previous five years' average. Furthermore, prospects for the 2001 agricultural season, starting in the next few weeks, remains bleak with households unable to return to their farms, so far, and large tracts of land still inaccessible due to landmines.

Cereal prices, which normally decline after harvest, were generally increasing or remained unchanged in most market centres reflecting the poor harvest. In the light of ongoing humanitarian needs in Eritrea, the Eritrean Refugee and Relief Commission (ERREC) launched an appeal on 22 February 2001, for US$224 million to assist nearly 2 million people for a period of twelve months.

The UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal, which includes project proposals from nine UN agencies, totals US$160 million.

Food aid pledges for 2001 amount to 55 000 tonnes but no deliveries have been made as yet.