III. Ethiopia: Food Production Forecast
Africa Research Bulletin, March 31, 1989
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Ethiopia, which has been devastated by famine and drought for more than a decade can look to production levels reaching 14% higher in 1988/89. The report says: “This excellent harvest is due to heavy and prolonged rains during most of the meher (the July-August big rains) season and the encouragement of heavy planting from high grain prices for most of 1988”. Even with excellent production levels, Ethiopia still needs 350,000 tonnes in food aid to feed its 48.7 million people. 5% more land will be put under cultivation in 1988/89, with yields expected to be 9% higher than that of 1987, according to the FAO. The peasant sector which normally accounts for 90% of total production will have its third largest yield in the past decade. In a separate UN report, the extent to which Ethiopia relies on foreign support was revealed. According to the report, the country received more than 1 million tones in food aid and another 190 million dollars worth of other assistance. This massive support was in response to a succession of appeals by the country’s relief authorities from August 1987 for help to stave off another potential disaster. Along with the UN agencies, the League of Red Cross Societies, and the Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, some 50 private charities were involved in the emergency effort.