The East African food crisis, caused by drought, is terrible. The outside world, UN and aid system, are once again moving to supply food, all good. BUT in future, drought and food shortages could be significantly avoided by early interventions.
It begins and ends with real people, mostly women farmers with families, whose access to irrigation finance and technical support is truly poor. In Ethiopia, there is a hidden problem, less than 10% of the suitable land is irrigated, according to several Ethiopian agriculturalists.
Every 10 or 15 years there is a multi-year East African drought and today at least 16 million people are on aid based feeding schemes. A large degree of this suffering could probably have been avoided if more land had been irrigated in the first place.
Looking ahead, the first vital step is to know where suitable land is and any irrigation support, map this and give to the entire aid sector, and you, so that we can all see what is happening, for the farmers.
The alternative is allowing the problem to repeat every 10 or 15 years.
Global MapAid wants to start by building a local team in Ethiopia, to map the land that could be irrigated and where coverage could be improved.
Then team can then make this available to the UN and aid system. The maps will show where access to the financial and technical support, mostly women farmers, is vitally needed.
GMA have already been busy mapping in Ethiopia, and made friends in the government university system who will lead. Our plan is to empower Ethiopia to see its own situation so that smart aid can be applied more precisely where it’s needed.
And when the job is done, our Ethiopian team will help other East African countries build their own teams for similar activities.
Thanks to these friends who have given their time, money and advice to us.
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