Addis Ababa — Ethiopia’s success story in wheat self-sufficiency is exemplary to Africa and IGAD member states in particular can share the country’s experience in wheat production and self-sufficiency, officials from IGAD countries said.
Agriculture officials from Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya talked to ENA on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting to validate and endorse IGAD Regional Food Safety Strategy and Post-Harvest Loss Management Strategy.
Earlier in the meeting, Agriculture Minister Girma Amente told the officials that Ethiopia is ready to share its experiences of wheat production, a national initiative program that has resulted in wheat self-sufficiency, and exporting of surplus to neighboring countries.
He described the success as good news for all of the east African countries and beyond.
Speaking to ENA, Somalia’s Agriculture and Irrigation State Minister Asad Abdirisak Mohammed said Ethiopia’s self-sufficiency in wheat is an exemplary achievement and countries in the region are looking forward to getting and learning a lesson from Ethiopia.
“We are all very happy to hear that Ethiopia has reached self-sufficiency. That means they don’t import wheat anymore, rather they export to neighboring countries. That is really an exemplary achievement and we look forward to getting and learning a lesson from Ethiopia to reach that point.”
The state minister noted in particular that all countries in the IGAD region have their own comparative advantage, adding that Ethiopia’s success is vital to follow in the footstep.
“We need food stability for most of the IGAD region. So it is one crop at a time. Maybe, the next is going to be maize. (Therefore) we have to focus on those crops good or suitable for each country, their soil and their environment,” he said.
According to him, east African countries as well as others countries have to think deeply about how to become self-sufficient in food.
“This time you know, there is food insecurity everywhere in the world with global warming, climate change, the war in Europe and all those. Thus, we (in Africa) have to think deeply to reach self-sufficiency in terms of food.”
South Sudan Agriculture Production and Extension Service Director-General, Loro George Leju Lugor said on his part that Ethiopia’s surplus wheat production is a big encouragement to Africa.
“I think that is a big encouragement to us in Africa. This is a big challenge to attain. So, we will be able to follow in the footsteps of what Ethiopia has done in that. Particularly in cash crops like sorghum that we (South Sudanese) are growing, we should be able become self-reliant like what Ethiopia has done in wheat production.”
Therefore, the success Ethiopia has registered in wheat production will definitely serve as an example to other countries like South Sudan, he stated.
“We have to open our eyes and do what we can do so that we can also come in line with Ethiopia.”
Lugor called on the IGAD member countries to collaborate and emphasize what are the best crops grown in that particular agro-ecology and all collectively come together in specialized different crops.
Uganda’s Animal Health Commissioner, Anna Rose Ademun Okuru on her part appreciated what Ethiopia has done and stated that the country is moving in the right direction.
“Ethiopia is now wheat sufficient. It can feed its population and has already started exporting wheat. So I want to call on all nations of Africa to look for one of the products that we can concentrate on that enables us to produce adequate for our population and also for export.”
The commissioner stated that Uganda is seeking to benchmark Ethiopia in the export of beef and live-animals, adding that “we will be very happy to interact with each other in the coming times.”
For Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Ministry Representative Collin Marangu, “Ethiopia is moving in the right direction and I am happy that it is willing to share what it is doing with member states.”