Summer wheat cultivation via irrigation ‘promising’, says PM

ADDIS ABEBA – The government of Ethiopia said it has registered encouraging results with the help of summer wheat cultivation through irrigation.

Ethiopia is among the top three wheat producers in Africa, with wheat accounting for 20% of the nation’s total cereal production.

But rising incomes has increased the demand for wheat over the last decade, according to reports, forcing the country to spent millions to import at least 17 million quintals of wheat annually to fill in the need.

Last week, officials in the sector told members of Parliament that cultivation through irrigation this year will help the import by more than half. At least 10mln quintals of wheat is expected to be harvested from 300,000hct of irrigated land this year .

“Summer wheat cultivation through irrigation has been promising thus far,” Prime Minister Abiy said in a twitter post on Thursday.

“If we continue capitalizing on these gains, our wheat import substitution aspirations will be within reach,” he added.

The country plans to end wheat import in the next three to five years.

More than 90% of Ethiopia’s wheat production is grown on small farms without irrigation, most of which are in the highlands, according to a report by the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.