The war between Russia and Ukraine threatens a big portion of the world’s wheat and other commodities supplies. This war prompted fears of food shortages in countries fed with imported grains. There is also fear that inflation will push prices to new high levels.
Various reports and documents indicate that this war is seriously affecting global trade and investment. An assessment report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development revealed that the war impact on trade and development confirms a rapidly worsening outlook for the world economy, underpinned by rising food, fuel, and fertilizer prices.
The report further indicated that Ukraine and Russia are global players in agri-food markets, representing 53% of global trade in sunflower oil and seeds and 27% in wheat. Following this, the rapidly evolving situation is especially alarming for developing nations because as many as 25 African countries, including many least developed countries, import more than one-third of their wheat from the two countries at war, as per the UN report. For 15 of them, the share is even over half. Thus, the wheat shortage could occur in Africa in the coming period.
Like other African countries, Ethiopia will inevitably be affected by all the global events occurring and the trade and investment fluctuations associated with the Russia-Ukraine war. However, the nationally developed summer irrigation strategy for wheat production will significantly contribute to withstanding this global impact. It is a great start to Ethiopia’s efforts to cover its own wheat demand with its own production.
The summer irrigation for wheat development is producing good results. The efforts to replace imported wheat with domestic production are showing encouraging results. It is even more imperative that Ethiopia is working to accelerate its productivity for self-sufficiency. Import substitution remains a target ahead.
The Ethiopian farmers which are included in the national summer wheat productivity are working together tirelessly and diligently. The productivity in most regions is promising. Their farming journey may be tedious but their ambition is to cultivate in the millions. Since Ethiopia engaged in irrigated summer wheat productivity by strengthening cluster farming approaches, the farmers have been harvesting greater yields that will continue to be supported through various efforts.
The government has been focusing on this project by providing technical support, inputs, and logistical support to irrigate wheat development areas in a coordinated manner. The move is making great strides in using water resources and manpower capacity to stop wheat imports in a short period of time. To this end, the government’s provision of inputs, market linkages, professional and similar support will play an important role in increasing the participation of private investors.
The Ethiopian government’s massive efforts to curb imports of wheat seem to have predicted the country’s future. The summer wheat irrigation strategy that has been developed, introduced, and implemented in all parts of Ethiopia is a good start and its success is being realized.
Ethiopia is showing significant and encouraging activities in this regard. We have seen in practice that Ethiopia has the right conditions and land to grow wheat if the government pays more attention to these results. The government should pay more attention to the fact that Ethiopia is a country with a sufficient environment for wheat production and should expand this proven experimental productivity in all sectors. In order to achieve better results, it is necessary to solve the problem of inputs, drainage, lending water pumps, adequate supply of seeds as well as fertilizers, providing technical support to the farmer, etc.
The government should identify areas that are unable to produce wheat due to water shortages when they have more than enough land to grow wheat.
These areas need to be helped by digging deep wells and extracting water.
In line with this, it is also necessary to pay attention to the areas that are not able to produce due to security concerns and help them to participate in their production activities. Intensifying all efforts is even more crucial now as the global supply of wheat becomes strained. If it continues in this way, it will be a great sign that Ethiopia has the potential to become independent in other areas as well.