Ethiopia and its northern region of Tigray have been in conflict for about a year now. The political power struggle that had been going on for decades escalated a year ago when Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive.
The conflict is putting hundreds of thousands of people in Tigray at risk of starvation and famine. Tigray is a dry place but farmers have long known how to manage the lands for production. The blockade on Tigray by the Ethiopian government, however, has meant that necessary equipment could not reach farmers. There have also been locust attacks which have significantly damaged crops.
Our guest in this episode of Pasha is Emnet Negash, who is from Tigray. He is a PhD student at Ghent University and assistant professor at Mekelle University in Ethiopia. He and his team at Ghent compared the state of ploughing in Tigray before and during the conflict. They found that 20%-30% of the land has been left fallow (compared to 5% normally) and only 20%-50% of the land was expected to produce reasonable yields – which might then be threatened by locusts again.
“Grain fields and farms in Ethiopia.” By hecke61 found on Shutterstock.