Addis Ababa September 30/2019 Ethiopia can become self-sufficient in wheat in the coming 3 years, if the country utilizes its 450,000 hectares irrigable land, according to Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research.
The institute revealed that 2 million quintal of wheat is expected to be harvested from the first phase of the lowland wheat production on 50,000 hectares of land in the coming five months.
Land preparation should be finalized by the end of this Ethiopian month, while planting the wheat crop should be finalized next month, and the harvesting at the end of the fourth month, it was indicated.
At this pace, the country can meet the consumption by filling the 17 million quintals annual deficit imported.
Studies indicate that Ethiopia can on average produce 44 quintals of wheat per hectare by utilizing lowland irrigated land, while the current highland rain-fed wheat production is 28 quintals per hectare.
Presenting the plan at Irrigated Wheat National Symposium today, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) Director-General, Mandefro Nigussie, said all stakeholders have to collaborate to realize the stated target at national level.
According to him, the demonstrations are encouraging and this clearly justifies the need for further scaling up by diverse actors — private, public and small holder farmers/ pastoralists.
Wheat is one of the major cereal crops produced by 4.6 million smallholder farmers on 1.8 million hectares of land with estimated annual production of 5 million tons on average.
There is a great potential to produce enough wheat grain locally through increasing the productivity per unit area or area expansion where an additional 3.5 million hectares of potentially irrigable area is available in the lowlands of the country.