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Ethiopia says to import 150,000 tonnes wheat

May 21, 2008

“The government has signed an agreement to import 1.5 million quintals (150,000 tonnes) of wheat within the next one and half months to stabilise food grain prices,” Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told parliament.

“Food grain price stability was not achieved in some communities due to illegal practices by traders operating outside the law,” he said.

The leader of sub-Saharan Africa‘s second most populous country did not say where the grain would come from nor how much it would cost.

The Ministry of Finance says inflation stands at 19 percent, mostly due to high petrol prices.

Meles said the government will take action against black market operators. Last week, police arrested 45 traders.

Food shortages are worse in sub-Saharan Africa because per capita production has fallen in recent years. Drought-prone Ethiopia was one of the most-affected African countries.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday that Ethiopia should tap low-interest loans or grants to help it deal with rising food prices.

A U.S.-funded early warning system, FEWSNET, has said that up to nine million Ethiopians may need food assistance in 2008 due to drought. (Reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse, editing by Jack Kimball and Peter Blackburn) (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit http://africa.reuters.com/). (nairobi.newsroom@reuters.com; +254 20 2224 717)

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3 comments on “Ethiopia says to import 150,000 tonnes wheat

  1. The government’s action is commendable although I am skeptical whether it is possible to get 150,000 tons in the near future.
    Even if the wheat arrives in a short period of time, there is also the issue of affordability because the wheat is imported with US dollar. As Birr has lost its value, households might need to pay more than 1000 Birr to get a quintal or 100 kilos of imported wheat.

  2. What does Meles means when he said traders operating outside the law? He should be reminded that it is not a command economy or his favourite Albanian communism.
    If he is really worried about traders operating ouside the law,he should dismantle all TPLF business organisations that are operating outside the law.Period.

  3. where is the 10% annual economic growth? is this 10% growth apply only to woyane officials and woyane companies?

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