Planting season ends as thousands of farmers lose tools, seeds and livestock
Six months after the conflict began in Tigray, thousands of farmers have nothing to plant before the rainy season as the crisis exacerbated by climate-fueled locusts devastated their tools and livestock and pushed more than 5 millions of people at extreme levels of hunger, Oxfam warned today. .
Gezahegn Kebede Gebrehana, Country Director of Oxfam Ethiopia, said:
“Agriculture is expected to start now before the long rainy season in June, but has been completely halted due to the conflict and lack of rain. Many farmers have no seed to plant, and their oxen and tools were looted or destroyed during the conflict. Trade and commerce have stagnated as people fear renewed fighting. “
More than 25% of the total production of Tigray has already been destroyed during the last harvest, mainly by swarms of locusts. Most families have already exhausted their food stocks. If this farming season is missed, the next harvest opportunity will not present itself for another 18 months.
Fantu Gezay, a farmer and single mother of six living in Raya Azebo Woreda, Tigray told Oxfam: “The conflict erupted when farmers were about to harvest the produce left by the locust invasion. All that was left of the locust was destroyed by the war and we were unable to harvest the teff and maize crops.
Nearly 1.7 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Tigray; thousands of families are crammed into small rooms of schools or churches. Women and girls face additional risk in such conditions. Shelters are open-ended and lack gender segregation, putting them at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
Freweyni Gebregzabher, Raya Azebo Woreda Agriculture Bureau, said: “My uncle was harvesting his sorghum crop a day before the war broke out. The next morning, as the fighting escalated, he was shot dead while hiding in a church, and all of his property was destroyed.
Oxfam and our local partners – the Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in the Amhara Region (ORDA) and the Development and Inter-Church Assistance Commission (DICAC) – have already reached 40,000 people in Tigray and the North Amhara region with food, sanitation facilities, and hygiene kits, as well as protection programs. Oxfam urgently needs USD 10.78 million to support 225,000 people in the Tigray and Amhara region by November, and to help provide food, water and sanitation, as well as urgently needed hygiene and sleeping items.
Oxfam calls on the international community to support the humanitarian response in Ethiopia to help quickly mobilize resources and save lives. To date, despite growing humanitarian needs, only 58% of the country’s total humanitarian response plan of $ 1.3 billion has been funded.
Parvin Ngala, Oxfam’s Acting Regional Director for the Horn of East and Central Africa (HECA), said: “We urge the parties to the conflict to accept an immediate cessation of hostilities and find a peaceful solution to this crisis. . This will allow humanitarian agencies to reach people in need, so that they can start their lives again. An end to human rights violations and fighting can allow farmers to plow their fields and plant their crops in the months to come, saving millions of people from starving.
Notes to editor
- The hunger figures are taken from the UN OCHA report of April 27, 2021, 5.2 million people in Tigray are now in urgent need of food assistance.
- Oxfam has established offices in South Tigray in Mehoni Town and in South East Tigray in Mekelle City (capital of the Tigray region), which will also oversee activities in central Tigray.
- Since the early 1970s, Oxfam has worked in Ethiopia to save lives and help more than 1.8 million of the most vulnerable people lift themselves out of poverty. In close collaboration with our partners, we provide clean water, sanitation and food, and help marginalized farmers lift themselves out of poverty through long-term development projects. Oxfam works to end gender injustices and help women.
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