Ethiopia is the largest wheat producer in Sub-Saharan Africa and has a favorable wheat growing climatic environment. Predominantly grown by subsistence farmers under rain-fed conditions, wheat is the 4th important cereal crop in the country. Although Ethiopia is the largest wheat producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is reliant on foreign wheat imports to satisfy its annual domestic demand. Therefore, the Ethiopian government through the Agricultural Growth Program is active in efforts to improve the production and productivity of wheat to increase domestic supply.
Wheat in Ethiopia is primarily grown in the Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regions. These regions account for more than 90% of national wheat production.
In 2012/13 the estimated cultivated area under wheat was more than 1.5 million hectares of land with annual production of nearly 3 million tons. It is estimated that over 4.5 million farmers are annually involved in wheat production. 65% of the wheat produced is of the bread wheat type while 35% is of durum wheat type and indigenous to Ethiopia.
AGP Wheat Activities
The AGP-AMDe objective for the wheat value chain is focused on stimulating the productivity and efficiency of farmer cooperative unions (FCUs) and agribusinesses. Operational in more than 45 AGP woredas the wheat activities includes:
Enhancing production and productivity of farmers through supporting improved input delivery systems; enabling market linkage among millers, processors, aggregators, common interest groups (CIGs), and wholesalers to increase efficiency; and facilitating transparent transaction through development and dissemination of quality grades and standards, price premiums for higher quality, and improvement of market information system.
Technology transfer support by assisting seed producers in select FCUs to multiply basic seeds for distribution to producer farmers and avail quality seeds to smallholder farmers and commercial wheat producers. As a result 3,036 farmers applied new technologies or management practices to improve the quality of their production in the 2nd quarter of year 2013/2014. The project has also introduced lowland wheat varieties to low moisture stressed areas in collaboration with partnering organizations.
Enabling access to finance by working with FCUs and cooperatives to develop business plans and long term strategic investment plans; facilitating short term loans through microfinance institutions (MFI’s) and commercial banks. A total of USD 526,316 agricultural and rural loans have been facilitated for the wheat value chain within the 2nd quarter of year 2013/2014 alone.
Technical Training Support through provision of training on warehousing, logistics and post-harvest handling. Wheat farmers are direct beneficiaries of Sell More For More (SMFM) training provided in a training of trainers (TOT) format and cascaded to 9,376 farmers.