Ethiopia has last week launched the annual summer wheat production campaign with a plan to produce more than 52 million quintals of wheat through irrigation.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched the 2022/23 Fiscal Year’s summer wheat production campaign in an event held in the Somali region’s Tuli Guled District with top regional and federal government officials in attendance.
The irrigation-based summer production push is expected to cultivate 1.3 million hectares of land through irrigation across the nation.
Agriculture Minister Oumar Hussain said the total wheat harvest is to reach a new peak this fiscal year.
The minister forecasted for the country to produce over 52 million quintals of wheat, doubling the total harvest secured last summer.
This will bring Ethiopia’s annual wheat production to 152 million quintals together with over 101 million quintals of output expected to produce in the main Meher farming season this year, the minister said.
The irrigation-based wheat planting campaign is a part of the push to achieve food self-sufficiency in the country often hit by climate change-induced drought by cultivating the crop throughout the year.
The campaign, which supports smallholders pooling resources to purchase inputs and negotiate for better prices, also aims to wean the country off wheat imports by 2023.
It has enabled Ethiopia to boost its cultivated areas of wheat production from 50,000 hectares in 2018 to 167,000 hectares in 2021.
In the summer of 2022 alone, Ethiopia harvested 25 million quintals of wheat on 405,000 hectares, helping the nation to halt wheat import.
This has prompted praise from the African Development Bank, whose President called it “an incredible story of success”.
Authorities say the priority has been given to wheat farming with a view of import substitution, and start exporting wheat to foreign markets in the current fiscal year.
Addis Ababa and Nairobi reached an agreement that will allow Kenya to import wheat from Ethiopia during President William Ruto’s visit this week.