Addis Ababa September 14/2022/ENA/ The summer wheat farming widely undertaken in the Oromia Regional State should be expanded to other regions in order to ensure food self-sufficiency of the country, Agriculture Minister Umer Hussein said.
In the production year 2021/22, Oromia was able to harvest over 21 million quintals of wheat through irrigation and belg rains by cultivating more than 669,000 hectares.
Speaking at the Oromia Summer Wheat Production Movement for the Fiscal Year 2022/23 launched today, Agriculture Minister Umer Hussein said the irrigation based wheat production indicates the possibility of realizing food security and import substitution.
He stated that what has been achieved in Oromia region is exemplary to other regions and would help to exploit the country’s potential in wheat production to alleviate poverty.
Researchers and agricultural experts have a great responsibility to further intensify these activities, the minster stressed.
Boosting wheat production is a strategy of the government as the cereal crop has several food uses which can be prepared in modern or culturally processed techniques.
In this regard, the government launched an initiative to develop irrigation-based wheat in lowland areas of Afar, Somali, Oromia, and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples regions to change the existing dependence of the country on rain-fed production of cereals.
Since then, extensive summer wheat farming activities have been undertaken across the nation with a view to substituting imported wheat and ensuring food self-sufficiency.
Oromia Regional State Chief Administrator, Shimelis Abdissa said on the occasion that the region’s number one focus for this budget year is to produce wheat surplus on a large-scale and export.
The regional government has set a plan to cultivate one million hectares of land under the summer wheat movement to harvest over 38 million quntals of wheat, it was learned.
“This will make Ethiopia not only self-sufficient in wheat production, but also creates opportunity to export the crop to the world market,”he added.
The chief administrator stressed that the leadership and professionals at all levels in the region should work with determination to achieve the target plan to improve the livelihood of farmers.
Therefore, supply and repair of pump, select seeds, and mobilization of the community should be done carefully, Shimelis pointed out.
As part of its overall commitment to boost agricultural output and ensure food security, the Government of Ethiopia has embarked on its goal to achieve wheat self-sufficiency within a short period by expanding production in the irrigable lowland areas and increasing productivity in the rain-fed agro-ecologies of the country.
Ethiopia has a potential to cultivate additional 3.5 million hectares of irrigable land in the Awash, Shebele and Omo basins alone; and irrigation-based wheat cultivation piloted in the lowland areas of the country is now being replicated and expanded to the highland areas.