DRM Senior Advisor Calls for Intensified Efforts to Increase Agricultural Productivity

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Addis Ababa  October  21/2021 /ENA/The effort underway to increase agricultural productivity in some places needs to be intensified across the country, Gutu Tesso, Senior Advisor on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) to the Government of Ethiopia at European Union said.
In exclusive interview with ENA, the senior advisor pointed out that the only way out of the current economic crisis is to modernize the agricultural sector and increase productivity.

According to him, the cluster farming which started in few places should be expanded and strengthened across the country.

“There are vast lands that could be cultivated by big rivers the country has. If properly utilized,  these would enable the country to produce agricultural products that can feed East Africa,” he added.

Gutu, who is also an economist, stated that if the country focuses on technology that help to  increase productivity in combination with large-scale irrigation, agriculture will make a difference.

Farmers also need to move from subsistence farming mentality to market-oriented production, he said, adding that for this to happen the pertinent institutions must work together.

Some 73 percent of Ethiopia’s employment comes from agriculture and about 90 percent of  foreign exchange earnings come from this sector and it also plays a key role in reducing insecurity.

However, “much needs to be done to maximize the role that this sector plays as change cannot be achieved by farmers alone. We have to be industrialized; we have to increase mechanization and go into technology-led agriculture,” he stresed.

Gutu noted that 90 percent of agricultural produces come from small holder farmers and the average land area they till is less than 1 hectare. Therefore, agricultural research institutions  need to invest heavily in research and use of technology to increase productivity.

Furthermore, the senior advisor said maximum effort needs to be exterted to create a climate resilient agriculture.  “If we can do this, our agriculture will become market-oriented.”  

On the other hand, he pointed out that agricultural activities have been disrupted in various parts of the country.

Gutu said, crop production and animal husbandry are not only being damaged due to technical constraints, but also by social and political problems as agriculture mainly depends on psychological stability of the community.