Ethiopia ready to supply wheat to East African countries
Addis Ababa, December 23, 2022 (FBC) – Ethiopia is due to start exporting wheat to East African countries, including Kenya, Djibouti and South Sudan, the Ministry of Agriculture announced.
“According to our five-year plan, we have set a goal that we will achieve the national demand in three years. In the past three years, wheat production has transformed from solely depending on rain-fed farming to irrigated-farming,” Isaias Lemma, Director of Crop Development at the Ministry of Agriculture told EPA.
Ethiopia has been able to achieve the national demand for wheat production by increasing wheat productivity and by expanding production areas, he said adding that currently the country is working extensively to export wheat.
Isaias further stated that Ethiopia has been importing wheat until last year. The country has been focusing on wheat production in the last three years to avoid imported wheat by replacing imported item with local production.
Pointing out that Ethiopia is increasing wheat production every year; he said that including autumn, 625,000 hectares of wheat have been cultivated, of which 355,000 hectares have been cultivated using irrigation. This year it is working to cover 32 million hectares with wheat production and currently 700,000 hectares of land have been covered with wheat seeds.
The director said that more than three million farmers and investors participated in the wheat production while Oromia, Amhara, Somali and Afar states have significant participation in the process.
“In order to keep the quality of the product, efforts are being made to protect it from the wheat beetle and other pests,”
“The product is exported to East African nations, especially neighboring countries. Kenya; South Sudan and Djibouti are considered as market destinations. All East African countries are 100 percent wheat importers. In particular, Russia and Ukraine were the main suppliers of wheat to these countries.”
The peace agreement made in Pretoria, South Africa, has created a good opportunity for nearly 100 districts in each state, which were out of production due to the war, to fully turn their faces to production.
“Leadership commitment; farmers’ desire to become self-sufficient in wheat and as well as the existence of first and second generation export wheat varieties in the society are cited for Ethiopia’s success.”