The global food crisis is one of terrible importance to the developing world, particular in sub-Saharan Africa. Although not just a concern for the poor land-tilling people of the South, the compounding problem of food insecurity, global warming and the global financial crisis have put some on the brink. In Eritrea, where agricultural development has been at the political fore, new paradigms have to be created.
Along with the previously mentioned, general problems, Eritrea faces a belligerent neighbor to its south as well as recurring drought conditions. To alleviate the latter in a country without any perennial rivers is a difficult obstacle, although a multi-faceted program to retain rainfall is hoped to prevent the worst of these problems. These include various dam projects12 which bear the dual task of flood control and water retention for irrigation, as well as the afforestation campaign3 which hopes to plant some 1 million trees yearly in Eritrea.
The goals of these programs is to improve both the environment and infrastructure related to agricultural. These of course leave out the one element most critical Eritrea’s development aspirations, the people. Of course warding off Ethiopia’s armies on the southern frontier of Eritrea is no small task and thus, a large force is stationed there. Eritrea’s small population must find creative way to till the fields whilst Ethiopia’s leaders search for the moral courage to do what is right and abandon Eritrea’s territories per the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission demarcation line.4 To this end, the employment of the National Union of Eritrean Women to promote the inclusion of women in this most critical of tasks will hopefully move us forward.5
Although women already till the fields of Eritrea, any support that can be extended to them by ministerial or union liaisons will help improve the quality of the endeavour while providing ample opportunity for education and feedback. Although the order of the task is high, the evolutionary change that this could have could spell an end for constant food insecurity in Eritrea.