Addis Ababa, March 6, 2012 (Addis Ababa) – Ethiopia and Japan here on Tuesday signed a grant agreement amounting to 102.9 million Birr to improve food security.
According to the agreement, the grant will be used to purchase fertilizers that aimed at improving the food security for underprivileged farmers in the country.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Sufian Ahmed and Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia Hiroyuki Kishino signed the agreement.
On the occasion, Sufian said the government of Japan has been assisting Ethiopia through the provision of grant in the form of fertilizer for food security project for underprivileged farmers over the last many years.
He said the assistance will contribute share to the country’s poverty reduction efforts directly by increasing agricultural productivity.
Sufian said there are many opportunities to further strengthen the cooperation between the two countries by considering additional instrument than the traditional grant assistance alone.
Ethiopia is ready to borrow soft loan from Japan, he said and adding, the ultimate goal is even to go beyond the soft loan and inter into commercial loan where possible after some years without severely affecting the country’s debt sustainably.
Japanese Ambassador, Hiroyuki Kishino on his part said Japan will continue to extend assistance to Ethiopia to increase crop production and productivity in the country.
He said the increasing demand for agricultural inputs in particular fertilizers require the government to spend additional foreign reserve.
The Ambassador said Japan is pleased to play a modest role in mitigating the existing supply and demand gap of fertilizer through Grant-in-aid Scheme for the project.
He said recognizing the huge fertilizer need; Japan has extended fertilizer and agricultural equipments to Ethiopia through this scheme since 1985.