ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced that the country’s summer wheat cultivation target stands at three million hectares, 1.7 million hectares more than last year’s coverage, a whopping 130% jump.

Ahmed said this during his visit to development sites and launching of wheat cultivation in the Afar region.

Last year, Ahmed noted, the land cultivated was 1.3 million hectares adding that the nation’s wheat growth trend and expansion of the summer wheat program is very exciting.

“Leaving aside previous years, when we compare last year to this year, 1.3 million hectares were cultivated in summer last year. But this year we are planning to cultivate three million hectares, 1.7 million hectares more than last year.”

PM Abiy further revealed that this year’s production is expected to exceed 100 million quintals

He recalled that the rains in the just-ended season were good. “The winter was great and we added 2 million hectares more. Therefore, the production was excellent and harvesting is now underway in most areas.

According to him, the Afar region has good soil and water which are excellent elements that can enable the expansion of wheat cultivation thereby achieving self-sufficiency at a national level.

This summer, from the combination of both winter and summer wheat production we can cover both domestic demand and even export the rest, he projected.

The announcement comes after Elite Agro Projects (EAP), a UAE-headquartered specialist agricultural engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company, plans to establish a wheat farm in the country.

Speaking to Zawya, Hassan Halawy, General Manager, EAP the proposed project would involve an agreement with the local government to export part of the harvest to the UAE and sell the rest locally in Ethiopia.

The EAP executive further explained that instead of going and investing in farms and competing with the local farmers, the company also plans to develop agro-processing facilities that will contribute towards improving the livelihoods of the locals.

Earlier, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) awarded grant funding worth US$84.3M for the implementation of Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Wheat Value Chain Development Project (CREW) aimed to advance wheat production and increase farmers’ incomes.

According to the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), the CREW project would focus on introducing climate adaptation measures to identify, design, and integrate digital adaptation solutions throughout the wheat value chain.