Ethiopia’s journey to be a bread basket of Horn of Africa

For long, the East Africa region has been recurrently exposed to drought and famine due to mismanagement of natural resources. Ethiopia is one of these countries that have been struggling to reverse this scenario.

Countries in the Horn of Africa have been making efforts independently to ensure food self-sufficiency, combining their unexploited resources and human power. As a result, some countries are successful in their vision of being food self sufficient and others are still striving to do the same. Ethiopia is among those who are making a relentless endeavor to be secure in food.

Devising various strategies and giving due priority to the assurance of food self sufficiency of its people, the government has fulfilled local demand through producing surplus wheat which can go beyond the vision. In order to be effective in that, the land, which was never cultivated for crop production, has already been used for the same cause. In doing so, the government has met the desire to come out of wheat dependency and has transformed into one of the exporters.

Though wheat production has been increasing steadily in the past decades, the demand for the crop outstripped domestic supply and forced the country to cover about 30 % of the deficit through commercial imports and food aid. The utilization of wheat is rising at 9 % annually, while production is increasing at 7.8 %, showing a continued widening between consumption and production.

With a growing demand due to a bourgeoning population, an increase in income, and a preference toward wheat-based products, the country has a long journey to achieve wheat self-sufficiency and save the scarce foreign currency reserve spent on imports. The government of Ethiopia is committed to self-sufficiency through initiatives such as wheat area expansion, irrigation development, and yield gap closure.

As a result, Ethiopia, one of the east African countries, has now extensively engaged in producing surplus wheat. Now, no one has twisted the arms of these countries for the sake of donating tons of wheat. This dramatic shift is expected to be realized in the export of crops such as wheat and other crops. The thing that mesmerized others was the commitment and dedication of the government to achieving its target as per the goal it set. Even some others are trying to defame the reputation of the country rising quality issues. As the production process was not carried out heedlessly, Ethiopia’s wheat farming system is not as they predicted to be.

According to the recent report of the Ministry of Agriculture, more than 58 million quintals of crops have been collected. Of these, 1.7 million hectares of wheat have been obtained through the summer irrigation scheme.

In the summer irrigated wheat cultivation scheme, three million hectares of land have been covered with wheat seeds, and the harvest is in progress. Various tasks have been undertaken on a large scale to obtain about 120 million quintals of wheat. Accordingly, in the activities carried out so far, one point seven million hectares of land have been harvested, and this excludes the task done in the summer irrigation scheme.

In the general farming activity that is carried out until April 8, 2024, 1.2 million hectares of land were harvested in traditional ways, and over 431,000 hectares of land were assisted with combiners. In sum, 1.7 has been proven to be a harvest. Accordingly, it was possible to collect 58.5 million quintals of summer wheat. The work of collecting has also been strengthened.

Summer irrigation wheat plays a significant role in increasing agricultural production in terms of type and quantity. The work has been started since Prime Minister Abiy was sworn in, and it is one of the efforts to improve the food system of society through engaging in large-scale.

As per the vision and desire of the government, the country is now self-sufficient in wheat. By working on the two farming seasons (in autumn and summer), the country is now fulfilling the local demand for wheat. If this continues to be strengthened, the opportunity to export on a large scale will also expand.

Summer wheat is one of Ethiopia’s efforts to protect its food sovereignty. In the agricultural sector, wheat, rice, green leaf, and animal husbandry are planned to maintain food sovereignty. The work is being carried out by the top management of the government and experts so that the cultivation of summer irrigated wheat can be completed quickly and with quality during the scheduled summer months.

For sure, Ethiopia has now ensuring food self-sufficiency in wheat. It is clear that the above news is bad for those who wish the country to remain poor. In whatever the case, one thing that I want to make clear for everyone is, Ethiopia will soon be a bread basket for Horn of Africa.

Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The Ethiopian Herald



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