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Cereal export ban lifted in Ethiopia

The prices of staple cereals such as teff are at record high in Eritrea
(Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN)

Ethiopia has lifted a two-year ban on the export of cereals such maize and sorghum, following a good harvest which has led to surpluses, according to a government official.



“The ban is lifted mainly due to low prices in the market," said Amakele Yimam, corporate communications director at the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry. "Ethiopia is now producing a lot. Exports will definitely benefit all stakeholders in the export process, especially smallholder farmers."



The ban was imposed in 2007 after a sharp increase in grain prices. At the time, the government ordered commercial banks and the Ethiopian Customs Authority to ensure that maize, sorghum, wheat and `teff’ (an indigenous staple grain) was not be ferried out of the country.



Mohamed Diab, country director for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Ethiopia, said WFP would, through the Purchase for Progress (P4P) project buy some of the surplus food from smallholders. "P4P benefits both Ethiopia’s small farmers and WFP… The farmers have a secure market and income... and WFP can buy food at competitive prices for people in need in Ethiopia.”



According to WFP, the five-year P4P programme in Ethiopia, which is due to end in 2014, will purchase over 126,500 tons of food from around 67,000 farmers. An estimated 5.23 million people will continue to require emergency food assistance up to December 2010, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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