In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ambassador Philip Baker commended the strong and timely response made by the government and other stakeholders toward mitigating the effects of the drought.
Triggered by El Niño, the worst drought the country has seen in decades, left millions of people dependant on food aid. With the development progress Ethiopia has achieved over the past decade and more, the East African nation has managed to mitigate the impact of the drought.
International partners have admitted that Ethiopia is able to cope with the situation due to the improved early warning system, the establishment of the productive safety net program (PSNP), and serious engagement by the Government of Ethiopia to analyze and respond to the on-going crisis caused by El Niño.
“We understand that the drought that occurred last year has been the worst in probably 50 years,” he said.
Baker said “the government of Ethiopia has swiftly responded to the drought situation before it had impacted human life.”
Canada has reportedly provided huge relief assistance to Ethiopia to enable the nation to curb the catastrophic effects of the drought.
The ambassador noted that the government of Ethiopia has conducted well organized and rapid response with full commitment.
“It has allocated huge sources toward addressing the challenges of the drought which makes it one of the best organized relief responses by UN global standards”, the Ambassador said.
The government of Canada provided a proactive relief response to the tune of 10 million USD including support for refugees, he said.
“We are happy to help and we stood by Ethiopia for decades and would continue to do so in the future and we will continue to also focus on refugees”, Baker noted.
People who are previously affected by the drought are recovering and short and long term mitigation activities are already in place, he noted.
“So we work with UN agencies and help Ethiopia to make sure that farmers and families, especially women to reach recovery phase”.
Noting the nature of Ethiopia agriculture which depends on rainfall, the Ambassador said that it is important to search for ways and alternatives so as to transform the sector.
He said “There are thousands of hectares of arable land that can be farmed even when there is no rain. UN agencies and Agricultural Transformation Agency can really work together to exploit such potentials in the future.”