Prominent Agricultural Research Center Destroyed by Flood

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One of the leading agricultural research centers in Ethiopia, Werer Agricultural Research Center, was completely destroyed by flood yesterday, September 3, 2020.

The flood caused by heavy rains hit the Center located in the Awash valley in the middle of the night and destroyed different crop farmlands, seed and animal feed storages, and office equipment.

Fifty hectares of land covered with crops, including 35 hectares of cotton farm, 15 hectares of sesame, were destroyed by the overflown Awash River.

Werer, one of the close to 20 research centers under the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) was able to save 532 animals that were living in the Center. But as the flood destroyed the animal food storage, it is currently unable to feed them.

In addition, all the office facilities and research documents stored at the Center were also taken by the flood.

Werer was the leading agricultural Center that led the experimentation of growing wheat in low land areas as part of the government plan to substitute imported wheat.

As a result of the work done by Werer and other research centers in the country, Ethiopia’s wheat procurement expense fell by 75pc in the just-ended fiscal year, from 11.1 billion to 2.8 billion birr.

The Center has also contributed to the development of desert resilient seed varieties and irrigation projects that had improved many low land farmers and pastorals’ livelihoods.  

Several places in Oromia and Afar Regional State within the Awash Basin are hit by severe flooding after heavy rains, and thousands have displaced.

Flooding that followed heavy rain has severely affected multiple localities in west, south-west, east Shewa zones Oromia regional state. Flooding also hit several districts in Afar, which is already reeling from previous flooding disaster.

According to residents in these areas, the flooding has displaced several households, particularly in Wonji, Fentale, Metehara, and parts of Adama in Oromia.

In Afar, Dufti, Aysaita, Amibara, Geleau, Afambo, and Gewane Weredas, cities are severely affected by the flooding. Urgent assistance is needed to help those displaced by the flooding.

At least 151,828 people in Ethiopia are affected by the floods caused in the current rainy reason as of August 20, without including the recent causalities.

Awash III, Hydroelectric Power Plant, has temporarily stopped producing power as of last week due to flooding. Furthermore, flooding & water hyacinth are also seriously endangering Koka, Awash I & II power plants.

Werer was established in 1964 as the then Melka Werer Agricultural Research Station by the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct research on cotton crops to support the cotton farms based in Awash Valley.

The station was then transferred to the newly established Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) in 1966. The Center is presently one of the federal agricultural research centers conducting research activities on cotton, oil Crops, wheat, and Irrigated Agriculture.

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