Budgetary Priority for Agriculture Makes Extra Impetus to Transform the Sector: Researcher

Addis Ababa ENA July 18/2019  Additional budget and high priority for agriculture would give further impetus in transforming Ethiopia’s agricultural sector and an encouraging departure for the years ahead, Economic Researcher said.

The government of Ethiopia has recently earmarked an additional 20 billion birr for the Ministry of Agriculture for 2019/2020 fiscal year aimed at transforming agricultural sector.

Addressing the Parliament before its summer recess, Prime Minister Abiy Amhed said allocating over half the country’s budget for pro-poor program will create opportunity to sustain economy and ensure the benefit of citizens.

Economics Researcher at Addis Ababa University School of Commerce, Mitiku Kebede told ENA that as agriculture continues to be the backbone of the country’s economy, the government’s budgetary priority is crucial and rightly appropriate.

“Therefore, it is fair to add more budget for the agriculture sector so as to bring and realize the structural transformation in the country,” he added.

As the country remains ineffective to transform the agricultural sector with rain-fed agricultural practices, expanding irrigation and cluster based farming system is crucial to tap the massive potential in the sector, he said.

He further stated that there need to be strict controlling mechanisms on where and how the allocated budget appropriately used for the target purposes since merely adding more budgets cannot bring change in the sector.

Mitiku pointed out that the Ministry has to follow a different approach to modernize the agricultural sector and to change the productivity scenario in the preceding years.

Minister of Agriculture, Ummer Husen, said on his part that the additional 20 billion Birr earmarked budget is intended to expanding irrigation projects and enhancing wheat, coffee and poultry productivity across the country.

The budget enables the sector to expand irrigational projects to produce exportable and imported agricultural products, he added.

He stated that “the reason for lagging behind of the country’s agricultural productivity for long is that it is mainly depend on rain fed agriculture and the effect of drought because of climate change in every ten year. Now it is declined in every two or three years due to El Nino weather. So as to change this scenario and to modernize the sector, enhancing the irrigation projects are given high consideration”

The ministry will focus on promoting import substitute, exportable and poultry products, he indicated.

“Even if we are working to enhance the agricultural productivity of all sectors; but, wheat from import substitute products, poultry from livestock and coffee from export products are the three prioritized areas that the ministry will focus on,” he noted.

According to the Minister, the entire budget including the additional 20 billion birr will be used in the fiscal year for enhancing agricultural modernization.

Ethiopian News Agency