The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is providing immediate livestock protection assistance to drought-affected pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Ethiopia.
While sending off a consignment of veterinary drugs from Addis Abeba to Oromia and Somali Regions, Dr. Alemayehu Mekonnen, the Chief Veterinary Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture thanked FAO for the intervention. He said the Organization has historically played a key role in responding to livestock emergencies and diseases, including the eradication of Rinderpest in Ethiopia.
"These veterinary drugs and animal feed will reduce the negative effects of drought on the pastoral and agro pastoral livelihoods," he said.
The "Emergency Livestock Response to Drought Affected Pastoral and Agro-Pastoral Communities in Afar, Oromia, Somali and SNNP Regions of Ethiopia"
Funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), FAO is providing livestock treatment and facilitating households to sell livestock that is still in marketable condition to generate cash and reduce pressure on the limited available pasture. Additionally, the targeted households are being provided with livestock feed as well as cash to cater for other essential household needs. FAO is also raising awareness in the targeted regions, on the use of Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) - a set of international guidelines and standards for the design, implementation, and assessment of livestock interventions to assist people affected by humanitarian crises.
The FAO Representative in Ethiopia, Ms. Fatouma Seid explained that the interventions, targeting 151 000 households (more than 750 000 people) would contribute to restoring the deteriorating health and body conditions of the livestock and reduce mortality.
"Ultimately, the aim is to safeguard livelihoods of the targeted communities and accelerate their recovery from the effects of recurrent drought," she said.The livestock sector in Ethiopia is one of the largest in Africa and contributes to 19 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 15 percent of export earnings. The sector is a source of protein-rich foods (such as milk, meat, and eggs); income; manure, draught power; fuel; and leather. The sector supports the livelihoods of about 80 percent of rural people in Ethiopia.
However, the detrimental effects of climate variability are affecting the well-being of livestock, and their production and reproduction efficiency. Frequent drought and a decrease in rainfall are affecting forage production; water availability; rangeland vegetation patterns; and is heightening and reinforcing the susceptibility of livestock to diseases.
As a result, capacity of the affected households to cope has declined to the point where there is a growing threat to the survival of viable pastoral production systems.
The "Emergency Livestock Response to Drought Affected Pastoral and Agro-Pastoral Communities in Afar, Oromia, Somali and SNNP Regions of Ethiopia" Project is being implemented in close collaboration with international, regional, and national organizations and Ethiopia's Ministry of Agriculture. FAO