Nation Implementing Agricultural Reforms to Boost Productivity, Attract FDI: State Minister

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May 15/2021 (ENA)  Various agricultural reforms have been introduced in the country to increase productivity and attract more foreign direct investment, according to Ministry of Agriculture.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Agriculture State Minister Wendale Habitamu said Ethiopia has a huge potential in agriculture that benefits its people.

The major emphasis of the ongoing reform of the country in agriculture is to increase productivity by supporting farmers and attracting local and foreign investors to the sector, he added.

The state minister underscored that enhancing the general agricultural productivity of the country has become not only food security issue but also sovereignty. 

“Food security is more than eating and it cannot be considered in this way. A country that is self-sufficient in food will not be easily exposed to any manipulation. As you know, this country where all kinds of seeds grow wherever we sow them. Even foreigners openly state this fact.”

In order to boost productivity, large-scale programs have been implemented in developing wheat through irrigation and cluster farming, he stated, adding that the enhancement of productivity in fruits and vegetables as well as livestock are also being accelerated.

Furthermore, agricultural reform in one of the country’s untapped FDI potential sector has been prioritized to alleviate the general lack of productivity and maximize foreign currency earnings. 

According to the state minister, rigorous reforms in areas of horticulture, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and other area are underway.

Land supply problems and submission of properly designed investment projects have been addressed through joint efforts with the relevant regional governments and investment projects.

“Presently, for example, we have 9 projects in the horticulture development sector where land supply problems were solved. There is also a huge investment potential in the livestock sector, which is being facilitated by the government to investors.”

Following these reforms and the relaxation of regulations on investments, Wendale revealed that foreign investors mainly from South Africa, India, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US have been expressing interest to invest in the country.  

In its effort to enhance productivity and attract FDI, the ministry has, for instance, exempted tax last month on over 550 agricultural machineries to investors in the sector, he elaborated.

The Government of Ethiopia has also been working aggressively to have fertilizer plants that supply 100 percent fertilizers to the agricultural sector.