Biadgilgn Demissie and other Ethiopian and Belgian researchers assessed the effect of the Tigray conflict on farming activities using freely available remote sensing data.

For detecting greenness, the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) was analyzed using Sentinel 2 satellite images acquired in the pre-war (2020) and during war (2021) spring seasons.

Overall, 72% of the farmlands have seen increases in green vegetation before crops started to grow in 2021. The precipitation analysis shows less rainfall in 2021 as compared to 2020, indicating that precipitation has not been an important factor in greenness. 

Rather, the conflict is most responsible for fallowing or insufficient ploughing of farmlands, so that these 72% of the farmland had an excessively high weed cover  in the spring season of 2021. 

Absence of ploughing in spring, in turn, indicates that crops could only be sown lately, what lead to crop failure in most places.

Interested readers may request access to the paper here: