Wheat Production Registers Notable Progress
The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), through the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), has been conducting different trials on improved wheat varieties multiplication since 1998. Subsequently, it has released a number of wheat varieties such as Sidra-1, Pavon-76, Croc-1, Quafza-32, Gumoria-3, and Attila-7.
Focus on improved seed varieties is highlighted in number 2 of the 17 pillars of the MoA’s priority guidelines. The guideline stipulates that after proper soil and water conservation; farmers must use improved seeds. These seeds must be multiplied by exemplary farmers as well as in clusters at village level. In this regard, the MoA has been distributing improved wheat varieties to exemplary farmers, and in return buys the harvest 25% more than the market price to encourage farmers to produce clean seeds.
The 2022 good rainy season coupled with adequate preparations by farmers and the MoA, has resulted in increased wheat production. The Public Relations Division paid a visit to some areas of the Southern and Maekel Regions to interview exemplary farmers and experts as to how wheat production is going in their respective regions.
Mr. Maekele Tesfamichaiel, Head of Economic Development at Mendefera Sub-region of the Southern region, said that around four thousand hectares of land was cultivated with improved wheat by volunteer farmers. He added that “Our farmers have, now, started sharing the improved wheat varieties among themselves without waiting for the intervention of MoA, because they have witnessed the advantages of improved seeds over the years ”
Mr. Mussa Omer, a certified seed multiplier, is listed as one of the country’s primary progressive farmers in wheat multiplication. This year, he has cultivated Atila, a good-performing wheat variety, on 5 hectares of land. Furthermore, he clarified that he used natural fertilizers and did not spray any chemical pesticides. Rather, he used manpower to eliminate the weeds. “With the help of the MoA experts, I am able to reach this stage. This year I am expecting to harvest close to 50 quintals per hectare.” He elaborated.
Mr. Fessahaye Tesfatsion is an agronomy expert in the Sub-region of Mendefera. He elucidated that exemplary farmers who harvested around 50 quintals per hectare during the 2021 season were selected for this year’s multiplication as well. “This year, the crops are in a satisfactory condition, and samples were taken to evaluate the average yield per hectare. And, we expect that the farmers will harvest more than 50 quintals per hectare.” He concluded.
Mr. Yonas Mengsteab, is a farmer from Adi-Bari, a village in the Sub-region of Mendefera. He was introduced to improved wheat variety in 2021. Then, He took 17 kilograms of seed and tried it in a small plot of land which provided him with a harvest of more than 5 quintals. He is, now, multiplying different types of improved wheat varieties. “I can witness that the improved wheat variety we got from the MoA has productivity of around 3 times compared to the local ones. Hence, I signed up to multiply one variety and expanded my land to a hectare. It is also rewarding because the Ministry buys it at a price of 25% more than the market price” He explained.
Mr. Amanuel Gebrebrhan is also an agronomy expert in the Sub-region of Emni-Hayli. He noted that multiplication of improved wheat variety in the Sub-region started in 2017 with 6 farmers in a total of 6 hectares of land. “This year, the number has increased to 1500 hectares of land, out of which 30 hectares are cultivated by exemplary farmers. Moreover, 80% of farmers in this sub-region were able to get access to improved wheat variety.” He clarified. “Exemplary farmers are always advised to prepare their land during the winter season, and as a result, they always get satisfactory yields. This year, we are expecting to harvest a minimum of 25 quintals per hectare from the small-scale rain-fed based farmers because we have fulfilled all the necessary on-farm soil and water conservation activities” he concluded.
Ms. Siti Mohammed is yet another small-scale farmer from the Sub-region of Emni-Hayli. She said that this year she has expanded her land to 1 hectare, and is expecting to get more than 18 quintals which in earlier years were not more than 10 quintals per hectare.
There are also extraordinary farmers in the Central region, who multiply improved wheat variety.
Mr. Kibrom Gergish is a farmer from Adi-Nifas, Central region. He started multiplying wheat in 2020. Then, he planted 78 kilograms of Pavon, a promising wheat variety, and harvested 90 quintals from 1.2 hectares (which is translated to 70 quintals per hectare). He explained that since it was his first time, the results were more than expected. “This year we have tried the row-planting method, and we used only 40 kilograms of Gumoria-3 wheat variety for the same size of land. For that reason, we are expecting to achieve higher yield with less amount of seed.” He said.
Mr. Ermias Gebremeskel is also another farmer from Tselot Village, Central region. He has been actively participating in seed multiplication for the last four years. He explained that last year he got 70 quintals of wheat from a hectare with the supplement of irrigation. Mr. Ermias said, “I returned 50 quintals to the MoA and we used the remaining 20 quintals for ourselves, and to encourage other farmers. This year, with the good rain, I expect to harvest 80 quintals per hectare.” He concluded.