The rainy season of Eritrea starts in the month of June and continue to the mid of September where majority of the country gets its rain in this season except the eastern escarpments which gets its rain in the months of January to March. With the beginning of every rainy season both the farmers and the Ministry of Agriculture make efforts in order to achieve high productivity. Guaranteeing food security being the main theme of the Ministry, Shabait has conducted an interview with the Minster of Agriculture, Mr. Afrefaine Berhe, regarding the various activities of the Ministry. Experts follow:
Would you please tell us the preparations made for the upcoming 2010 rainy season?
Most of the preparations are carried out by the farming community, but the Ministry and other partners also play their due role in the preparation process before the onset of the rainy season. The Ministry on its part has provided seeds, fertilizers and pesticide to the farmers.
Does the Ministry of Agriculture have any plan as regards to improving the farming methods?
The Ministry gives top priority to farming areas that can produce high harvest. Accordingly necessary agricultural equipments or facilities are made available to those high productive areas.
What can you tell us regarding the soil and water conservation program of the country?
Though it is difficult to analyze the achievements registered within short period of time, the outcome of the soil and water conservation activities have so far been successful. We have been able to raise productivity in the plains and conserve soil in areas where previously were exposed to soil erosion. In addition, the plains of the country have become the main source of vegetables and fruits at present. Furthermore, the program includes water conservation activities through building water diversion schemes, water reservoirs and the like in various parts of the country. Besides, the introduction of irrigation system is playing a big role in enhancing agriculture productivity, as well as in conserving water and soil.
What are the efforts made by the Ministry in conserving the wild life of the country?
Rainfall is crucial for the well being of both domestic and wild animals but in addition to the availability of water, the law that forbids hunting in the country, the number of wild animals in the country is on the rise after independence. What we are planning to do and have started applying is providing water to the wild animals along with creating a boundary between farmers and wild animals living areas. The Ministry is also doing its best in preserving the wild life because wild life is part of the natural resources of the country. Another amazing fact that I want to point out here is Eritrea is known for its unique wild ass in the world.
Can you tell us the activities of the Ministry in upgrading manpower?
Along side the continuous training courses offered by the Ministry to its staff members, the Colleges of Agriculture in Hamelmalo and Hagaz are making due contribution in producing skilled manpower in agricultural fields. These colleges graduate students at degree and diploma programs. In addition, a branch in the Center of Vocational Training in Sawa, CEVOT, has been graduating a number of students every year at certificate program. With the expanding of colleges, the field of study which was previously limited is now promoting and many agricultural experts have been produced.
Do you have any message to convey?
Well, every national should step up its effort in the undergoing endeavors of achieving food security and reinforce its resolute rebuff.