New Zealand is spending up to $15 million in drought-ravaged Ethiopia with Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ help.
For five years the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will work with Gates, the world’s richest person, and the Ethiopian government to developing dairy in the sub-Saharan African nation.
Gates’ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a $55 billion endowment, and the Global Good Fund have signed a memorandum of understanding with the New Zealand Government for the Ethiopian initiative.
REUTERS / TIKSA NEGERI
The ministry has issued a tender calling for companies expert in New Zealand dairying practices to offer their services.
“Suitably qualified and experienced organisations or consultants” are needed to design and implement dairy development activity in Ethiopia, the tender states.
REUTERS / TIKSA NEGERI
The goal is to help Ethiopian dairy smallholders increase incomes, farm production and productivity, a ministry spokesman said.
It’s hoped Ethiopia can reduce its dependence on milk powder imports while developing its own dairy export potential, increasing farm household income, and empowering women through agriculture.
“The work will include improving animal husbandry, enhancing genetic potential, installing milk collection and processing facilities,” the spokesman said.
It’s expected the programme will start in early 2017 and run for five years.
Since 1974, when Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed, Ethiopia has endured war, famine, displacement and weather extremes which have killed hundreds of thousands.
By 2012 the somewhat stabilised country had experienced its first democratic transfer of power, but its population of nearly 100 million still struggles economically.
According to the CIA World Fact Book, Ethiopia, despite a fast growth rate, has one of the world’s lowest per-capita incomes and its agricultural output lags.
“Poor cultivation practices and frequent drought” dog the nation while rainfall changes associated with global warming “continue to create food insecurity for millions of Ethiopians”, the factbook said.
By 2016 two successive rainy seasons failed to show, leaving an estimated 18 million Ethiopians in need of aid.
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