European Union Owes 78, 000 Tons

European Union Owes 78, 000 Tons of Food to EFSR

(Emergency Food Security Reserve is in Crisis)

 

Addis Tribune (04/07/00) By Our Staff Reporter

 

As Ethiopia enters another food crisis, the agency set up to deal with short-term food shortages, the Emergency Food Security

Reserve (EFSR), is also in crisis.

 

Only about 60,000 metric tons of food is in the reserve, instead of the over 300,000 which should be available for the current

crisis. 60,000 tons represents less than one month’s distribution needs.

 

The problem is that food ‘borrowed’ by donors from the EFRSA last year to cover pledges has not yet been replaced.

Repayments are months behind, and some of the repayments are not even scheduled yet.

 

The food that should bridge the critical period from now until September is not available. People could starve as a result.

 

The biggest debtor to the EFRSA is the US, which owes about 90,000 metric tons. On the positive side, most of this food is

expected to arrive by the end of April in a large shipment of 86,000 tons, and should be available for distribution in May.

 

The next biggest debtor is the European Union, with 78,000 metric tons owed. The repayment time for this food is uncertain.

The European Union intended to buy some or all of the food locally, but with the Government of Ethiopia trying to purchase all

of their 100,000 metric ton contribution, the local market is running dry. Not only has the EU failed to pledge significantly to this

years’ appeal for food, they haven’t even agreed to a schedule for repayment of last year's borrowing.

 

Although late, the WFP is starting to repay the 52,000 metric tons which they had outstanding in January, and are expected to

have fully repaid in the next month or so.

 

Apart from these big debtors, there are a further 15,500 metric tons of unpaid debts to the EFRSA which have been

outstanding since last year.

 

The US has pledged 260,000 metric tons to the Ethiopian appeal for over 800,000 tons, with a further 140,000 tons for

refugees, displaced and development programs (adding up to their total contribution of 400,000 tons).

 

The WFP is forcefully pushing for contributions to their appeal for Ethiopia for this year. Next week the Director of the WFP,

Catherine Berthini, will be here to highlight the need for an international response to the gathering crisis.