Ethiopia: Wheat disease hits Ethiopian regions

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – A wheat disease outbreak in the Oromia regional state of Ethiopia has destroyed 410,000 hectares of wheat field, the Food and Agricultural Organis ation (FAO) said in a weekly report Tuesday. The wheat rust, a fungal disease outbreak whose effect is comparable to polio virus in humans, has affected nearly 65,000 wheat farmers in parts of Central Ethiopia, extending to its Eastern and Southern regions, the report said.
Ethiopian authorities have jointly embarked on control and mitigation efforts to contain the outbreak of the yellow rust disease that has affected fields in Oromia — parts of Arsi, West Arsi, Bale, Horogudru, Jimma, North and West Shewa.
The outbreak also affected parts of the Amhara regional state, notably North Shewa, South Gondar, East Gojam, North and South Wollo.
Its effects have spread further Southwards, affecting the Southern Nationalities region, like Gurage, Siltie, Hadya.
‘The severity of the infestation in some cases is reported to be as high as 90 percent,’ the FAO report said.
But it added that the extent of the damage varies and will be captured by the Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission the seasonal assessment, scheduled for November and December.
However, the Government-supported spraying has protected some 110,000 hectares.
Ethiopia’s Agriculture Ministry is planning to support some 65,000 affected households in Southern Nationalities (SNNP) regional state, Oromia and Amhara regions in spraying of fungicides.
The project is funded by a number of UN relief agencies as part of their Humanitarian Response Fund and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and regional bureaus of agriculture.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s food security outlook indicates that food security has improved in long cycle crops, following above normal rains in most of this year.
Prices of staple foods have reduced and household purchasing power has increased due to improvements in physical conditions of livestock.
But the conditions are likely to deteriorate in eastern parts of the Southern region from February/March, as below-average rainfall from January to mid February are expected and may lead to below-normal production of transiti onal crops, including sweet potato.

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