ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia’s wheat production is expected at 7 million tonnes for the 2022/2023 season according to the latest forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Ecofin Agency, citing USDA reports that the forecast volume would mark an increase of 27% compared to the stock of 5.7 million tonnes produced during the previous campaign, signing a new record for the sector.

USDA attributes the improvement in production to a good distribution of rain in the main cropping areas located on the Ethiopian highlands.

The USDA report comes after a recent declaration by Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minster who revealed that the country expects to harvest about 40 million quintals (4 million tonnes) of wheat during the March harvesting season.

Abiy added that the production would exceed the demand for the first time in decades, noting that the bumper harvest has not only halted wheat imports but also left enough surplus for export.

Currently, Ethiopia is the leading wheat producer in sub-Saharan Africa with an annual consumption of an estimated 97 million quintals (9.7 million tonnes).

The country has been on an aggressive move in raising wheat production in a bid to wean itself from exports, which were increasingly becoming unreliable.

Recently, the Agricultural Businesses Corporation (EABC) committed to the distribution of 253,000 quintals (25,300 tonnes) of seeds in the March season in a bid to expand agricultural production for the country.

The agency revealed that the seeds were carefully researched and approved with the potential to withstand recurring crop diseases and varying environmental conditions.

In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture has focused on cluster farming, and subsidized fertilizers aimed to boost production to meet the local demand and feed the neighbors from the surplus.

According to USDA, the current prediction is a result of an 18% increase in the sown area, mainly dominated by irrigated wheat cultivation, which reached 2.3 million hectares against 1.9 million hectares previously.

The USDA also indicates that the yield is forecast to increase by 8% compared to the previous year and by 6% compared to the five-year average of recent years to reach a historical level of 3 tons per hectare.

As wheat production skyrockets, recently, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed presided over the national wheat export launch program in Bale Zone, Oromia region, a move aimed at making Ethiopia’s wheat export dream a reality.

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