11 May 2021, Addis Ababa - The Government of Canada has contributed USD$ 2.2 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s programme safeguarding livelihoods affected by COVID-19 and desert locusts in Ethiopia.
FAO is implementing the 18-months "Support vulnerable communities in Afar and Somali regions to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 and desert locusts" project in Afar and Somali regions, benefiting over 21 000 pastoral and agro-pastoral households.
The FAO Representative in Ethiopia, Ms. Fatouma Seid, thanked the Government of Canada for the funding, saying, "It will help FAO to respond to the immediate needs of the affected communities and set them on a path to recovery".
Specifically, the project is providing pastoral and agro-pastoral households with supplementary animal feed, and facilitating vaccination, monitoring, and surveillance of common livestock diseases. It is also training extension staff, Community Animal Health Workers, and communities on good livestock husbandry practices.
In addition, the project is enhancing milk-trading businesses for 500 women by providing them with equipment and cash to purchase milk, packaging materials, meet transport, and other running costs.
It is promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture through social behavior change communication, training and cooking demonstrations.
Furthermore, the project is undertaking gender mainstreaming along the crop and livestock value chains and training about 70 000 stakeholders in gender.
Desert locusts, COVID-19, macro-economic challenges and conflict drive food insecurity
Since June 2019, Ethiopia has been responding to the worst desert locust invasion in over 25 years. The locusts have damaged crops, pastures, and rangelands, leading to below-average harvests and livestock productivity. Afar and Somali are some of the most affected regions.
The COVID-19 prevention measures have further reduced farmers' access to agricultural inputs, markets, rural jobs, and livelihoods.
In addition, political and ethnic tension, population displacement, macroeconomic challenges, high food prices are also driving food insecurity in the targeted regions.
FAO is implementing the project in collaboration with Afar and Somali regional governments, Non-Governmental Organizations, the private sector, and UN Women.
This project is part of a more extensive FAO programme funded by multiple donors to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the desert locust infestation in Ethiopia.
National Communication Officer