Farmers in parts of northern Ethiopia are in serious danger of losing the main planting season (June-August) if they do not receive urgent support from the international community to sow their fields, which would further deteriorate the already serious food security situation in the region.
With the rainfall outlook foreseen to be favourable, the season offers a crucial and cost-effective opportunity to improve food availability across the region. Most farmers in Tigray 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.
FAO and its Agriculture Cluster partners are seeking to mobilize $96 million immediately, focusing specifically on the time-sensitive opportunity offered by the Government of Ethiopia to purchase fertilizers at cost price.
Over the last months, FAO and partners have mobilized $11 million, which enables them to meet just 10 percent of needs for fertilizers, leaving a gap of $85 million.
FAO and partners are also exploring avenues to make 60 000 tonnes of fertilizers and locally-produced seed available to farmers (4 000 tonnes of seed, or 8 percent of the total needs). Given the very short window for planting (end-June to August), the first priority should be given to fertilizer, which is applied three to four weeks after planting.