Ethiopia in new drive to cut wheat imports

Ethiopia has finalized preparations to launch what is called “Integrated Wheat Production Enhancement Project” as part of an effort to cut wheat importation, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture said.The [roject is targeted to boost the country’s wheat production in the coming three years by engaging in tropical and highland areas, Esayas Lemma Director of Crop Development at the Ministry told journalists over the weekend.

The  Horn African country spends up to $500,000 per year to import wheat.  

The country covers its 17% to 40% of the total demand through imported  wheat.

The  government of Ethiopia has come up with this project as a major step in  improving food security, cost recovery and import substitution,Esayas  said

He said the project will be launched in October 2019 in tropical zones and highlands on 100,000 hectares land.

The  potential for wheat production in the tropical zones has identified and  the result from the pilot project conducted in Afar and Oromia regional states shows that there is an ample opportunity for such produce, he  added.

The wheat cultivated in the tropical zones will be harvested  between 80 and 90 days.

“From  the previous experiences, we have identified which variety of wheat  should be applied in such tropical weather. Based on the assessment made, it has been secured 37 quintal of wheat per hectare in Afar and Oromia regional states. So, the pilot projects which have been applied  in recent years are effective”.

Rehabilitation of acidic lands in the highland areas, and raising awareness of farmers on utilization of fertilizers will be conducted throughout the years in  order to enhance productivity, the director added.

According  to the Director, all the preparations have been finalized to make the  tropical project operational in October using irrigation.

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