Using irrigation, the Government of Ethiopia has covered 20,000 hectares of lowland with wheat farm for the first time, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.
Addressing the Members of Parliament today, Abiy indicated that the government has focused on covering lowlands with wheat farms using irrigation. Utilizing the available water and land resources of the country is now the priority of the country to end food shortage, according Abiy. Water from Awash and Omo rivers, among others are being used for irrigation. Wheat production in Ethiopia was limited by smallholder farmers who uses rain-fed agriculture and couldn’t be able to produce enough to feed the growing population of the country, which is now estimated to reach 110 million.
“We need to increase this (lowland wheat farming) next year by many folds,” he said. Government reports show that Ethiopia has been spending over half a billion dollar every year for importing wheat. After the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power two years ago, the country is working to make wheat import history in a few years’ time by covering its land with wheat farms using irrigation.
Commenting on the preparation for the upcoming farming season, he stated that the government has imported 10.5 million quintals of fertilizer and distributed to all regions of the country so far. He stated that the total demand for fertilizer in Ethiopia the upcoming planting season is estimated around 14.6 million.
To meet the demand (fill the remaining gap), around 1.9 million quintals of fertilizer is being transported from Djibouti to Ethiopia, according to Prime Minister Abiy. The remaining about 2 million quintals of fertilizer is also on the way to Djibouti from where the government has purchased.
In relation to improved seed varieties, about 745,000 quintals is ready but not enough. The government is now trying to increase the supply of improved seeds using commercial farm lands for breeding the seeds.