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Ethiopia says it will not surrender its sovereignty for food

Irrigated wheat harvesting, Oromia National Regional State

ADDIS ABABA, NOVEMBER 25, 2021 — The Ministry of Government Communication Services (GCS) said, today in its weekly briefing, that Ethiopia will not surrender her sovereignty in order to get wheat.

The GCS mentioned the one billion USD that the Ethiopian diaspora sent to Ethiopia legally in just three months as a means to counter the aid blackmail which is currently being used against Ethiopia by the United States (US).

"We do not have to surrender our sovereignty for wheat if the diaspora legally sends remittance to Ethiopia", said Kebede Desisa, Deputy Minister of the GCS.

He also blamed the US for interference in its internal affairs and for using aid blackmail. He said this kind of technique will not work on Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, in addition to absorbing economic shocks with remittance, also plans to ensure food security by working on import substitution.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed mentioned, in October, Ethiopia's intention to reduce wheat imports. However, this pragmatic statement was maliciously misreported by some foreign media which showed the West is actually opposed to Global South nations like Ethiopia ever sustainably ensuring food security, according to Andrew Korybko, an American political analyst.

In October, Ethiopia's prime minister also lauded this season’s crop production in the Somali region as "very promising". "Our focus throughout the country will continue to be on food security and on strengthening our capacity for self reliance", said prime minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ethiopia's regional leaders were also emphasizing self-reliance. Shimelis Abdisa, President of the Oromia National Regional State, expressed Ethiopia's intention for import substitution in a tweet on November 16. 

He said "Our farmers are working day and night with our development agents to cover 607,000 hectares by irrigated wheat. We will substitute imported wheat this year. Self-reliance is a foundation for everything".

According to the United States Department for Agriculture’s forecast for Ethiopia’s wheat production in the 2021-22 marketing year, it is expected to be a record 5.18 million tonnes. The USDA anticipates the Ethiopia to import about 1.5 million tonnes in this same year.

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