Having completed the irrigation development tasks of Winter and Autumn rain farm, Ethiopia has set its course to finalize this year's major agriculture of the rainy season. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources, the government is exerting level best effort to achieve three important goals through the agricultural sector.
Alemayehu Berhanu, Public Relations Director at the Ministry on a recent press briefing told journalists that these goals are ensuring food security, abundant input yield for the Integrated Agricultural Industry Parks (IAIPs), that have been established in four states and producing quality export commodities in large quantity by the end of the current regular agricultural season.
Speaking of food security, the director noted that even though the Gross National Production has been improved over the past few years, there is much to do in ensuring the food security of every citizen in terms of appropriate nutrition.
According to Alemayehu, the IAIPs require huge amount of inputs. "The IAIP, which is established in Bure, West Gojjam Zone of Amhara state, requires two million tons or twenty million quintals of oil seeds annually. In addition, we are still importing high amount of wheat for our food processing industries and bakeries. Thus, we have to create a potential that can deliver sufficient input for all IAIPs. We cannot afford to build an industry and import its inputs," he stressed.
Therefore, taking in to account the aforementioned goals, the government has planned and is exerting multi-stakeholder inclusive effort to produce 375 million quintals of yield from 14 million hectares of land during this season of production.
By the end of the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII) agricultural production is also expected to exceed by 406 million quintals. Based on the data or information of the Central Statistics Agency, 306 million quintals of yield was gained from the planned 345 million in the past production year.
Alemayehu also noted that based on the current potential of the sector, producing 406 million quintals of yield is not that much difficult. "Thus, there is a hope that the country would get closer to achieve this goal or meet the plan. But above all, what we have planned and trying to achieve is reaching maximum level of production during the implementation of GTPIII," noted Alemayehu.
Meanwhile, input supply, environmental protection and conditions of rainfall throughout the country as well as prevalence and prevention efforts of Fall Army Worm are vital issues of concern, which need to be dealt with at national level.
According to, the National Meteorology Agency prediction there has been and would be conducive climate and promising rainfall distribution in Amhara and Oromia states at the current season.
It was also indicated that this year's rainfall distribution during Autumn, in comparison with the same season of the previous three years, was much better. Most areas of the SNNPs State are producers of Autumn, covering close to fifty percent of the Nation's agriculture production of the season. As a result, apart from few exceptional areas of central and western parts of the state, there was not much rain in most of its areas during this summer.
However, no matter how much the summer rainfall distribution in these areas of SNNPs State, there would not be a significant impact on the crop production, assured Alemayehu.
Though, the Summer rainfall in Tigray State has begun late, current data indicates that the distribution is better than the previous year.
In terms of agricultural inputs, Alemayehu said additional to the 248 million quintals of chemical fertilizer, which has been in store, over 13,500,000 quintals has been imported this year. He emphasized that the amount is more than sufficient adding, the distribution process has so far been effective as 98 percent of the fertilizer has reached the states throughout the country.
Meanwhile, state Bureaus need to exert level best efforts in collaboration with basic cooperatives and unions in order to avoid inconveniences and make sure the fertilizer is distributed for the farmers in time, according to him.
In terms of improved (special) seed, 3.5 million quintals seed of different types has been prepared. There was a gap in multiplying best seeds, particularly serial crops. Somehow, the Ministry is working with bureaus and agricultural research institutes to make sure that the existing amount of special seeds has reached the farmers in time due to the fact that this is the right time for farming.
In cases of Fall Army Worm Woldehawariat Asefa Director General of the sector said a strategy for plant protection has been implemented over the past years but the traditional or manual system remained the best option in order to prevent the damages of fall army worm.
He said the country has been successful in reducing the destruction rate of the worm by five percent using the manual method in the previous year. The same strategy would be implemented in this production year but improving the information exchange system is crucial, said Asefa.
However, the farmer is questioning for how long would the manual system has to continue. But according to Assefa, as long as the chemical is not effective, it would remain as the last option.
"Our practice in the previous year was killing the worm only. But now taking serious inspection inside the Maze fields and destroying the eggs is best. And we will train the farmers and extension workers how to identify the eggs and take the prevention actions," he noted.
On the other hand, a new maze virus has occurred recently but it does not need chemical treatments and the traditional or manual way, which is by removing the infected maze, would help to tackle the problem.