ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has set aside 9.8 billion birr fund for the construction of seventeen irrigation development schemes during the current budget year, revealed the Government Communication Service (GCS).
The development of these projects aim to boost agricultural production through irrigation and ensure food security in the country, said Selamawit Kassa, state minister of Government Communication in a press briefing on Monday.
The schemes are also parts of the government’s efforts to intensify summer wheat production.
Last May, the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed revealed his administration’s plan to build more than 100 small and medium irrigation dams by the end of the current 2021/22 fiscal year.
These projects, he said, will help the country realize its target to farm three times per year with the support of irrigation.
According to the GCS, Ethiopia has up to 10 million hectares of land that could be cultivated through irrigation. It has, however, managed to develop 1.2 million hectar land through irrigation.
Selamawit said more focus is now given to irrigation development schemes that will help increase the productivity of the agriculture sector.
This year, Selamawit said the government has allocated 9.8 billion birr to develop 17 irrigation projects.
The construction of twelve projects have already begun in various parts of the country, the state minister added.
Ongoing irrigation-based Farming
Through the regular irrigation projects, the GCS said about 349,000 hectares of land has been cultivated. At least 89 percent or 311,000 hectares of land has been covered with fruits and vegetable seeds, Selamawit said.
With regards to summer wheat production scheme, the country also plans to develop a total of 400,000 hectares of land and produce 16 million quintal of produce this year.
Thus far, the state minister said, more than 256,000 hectares of land has been cultivated.
“About 64 % or 146,000 hectares of these land have been covered with seeds,” Selamawit said.
Apart from increasing the annual production, the overall push to strengthen the agriculture sector via various schemes including irrigation aims to help the economy cope with the effects of the war.
A third of Ethiopia’s GDP is generated through agriculture, and more than 12 million households rely on small-scale farming for their livelihoods, according to reports.
Featured Image caption: Abiy Ahmed and high ranking officials visiting Qoga irrigation-based lowland wheat production farm in Mecha Woreda of Amhara regional state in March, 2021.