Wheat is one of the major cereal crops in the Ethiopian highlands, and it 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 project 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.
Although Ethiopia is the largest wheat producer in the Sub-Saharan Africa with about 0.75 million ha of durum and bread wheat, it 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.
Source: UK Agro Consult