Addis Ababa — Encouraging achievements have been registered in irrigation farming, particularly in wheat cultivation, during the last three years, according to Ministry of Agriculture.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Acting Agricultural Development Head Germame Girma said 5-6 million quintals of wheat are expected from the 44, 300 hectares of land cultivated in Afar, Somali, Oromia, Amhara, and SNNP regional states.
He added that the ministry is working to expand wheat cultivation through irrigation and boost productivity.
Last Ethiopian year, only 20,000 hectares of land was cultivated and about 600,000 quintals collected. Currently the land cultivated through irrigational alone has increased to 144,300.
Germame noted that expanding wheat cultivation throughout the country would contribute to food self-sufficiency as cultivation of wheat in summer yields more harvest than in the rainy season.
According to him, wheat cultivation through irrigation which started in lowland areas of the country during the last three years has now expanded to the high land areas.
Ethiopia has been importing on average from 10-15 million quintals of wheat annually, which is about 300-400 million USD.
About 50 million quintals of wheat is harvested annually in the country, but falls short of meeting the 60-65 millions quintals demand.
Even if irrigation has been practiced in Ethiopia for a long period, fruits, vegetables, among others, were the products cultivated, the head said, adding that crop cultivation started only three years.
Presently, about 1.2 million hectares of land is being cultivated with various fruits and vegetables, it was learned.
Germame said the ministry has been working hard to build inclusive capacity in producing skilled manpower in the sector, increasing supply of pesticides, herbicides, selected seeds, among others, to boost wheat productivity per hectare from 27 quintals to 50.