ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has set aside 9.8 billion birr for the construction of seventeen irrigation development schemes, said the Government Communication Service (GCS).
The new projects aim to boost agricultural production through irrigation, particularly summer wheat production, said Selamawit Kassa, state minister of Communication in a press briefing on Monday.
The plan to construct construction irrigation scheme is a part of the government’s efforts “to intensify summer wheat production” in Ethiopia, Selamawit added.
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.
The construction, he said, is part of a push to farm three times per year via irrigation thereby ensuring food security.
The total current irrigated land area, hence, accounts for about 5 percent of the total cultivated land
According to the GCS, Ethiopia has up to 10 million hectares of land that could be cultivated through irrigation schemes. So far, only 1.2 million hectares of land has been developed .
Selamawit said more focus is now given to irrigation development schemes to revolutionize the food production in Ethiopia which is currently dependent on ren-fed agriculture.
This year, she said the Government has allocated 9.8 billion birr for the construction of 17 irrigation development projects. Of which, twelve are currently under construction in various parts of the country, the state minister added.
Currently, some 349,000 hectares of land has been cultivated. Out of this, 311,000 hectares of land has been covered with seeds.
“The target is to develop a total of 400,000 hectares of land and produce 16 million quintal of produce,” she said, “More than 256,000 hectares of land has so far been cultivated, of which 156,000 hectares have been covered with seeds.”
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.
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