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Ethiopia has significant wheat production potential - Report
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (9 OCTOBER 2012)—In releasing the first ever comprehensive report on sub-Saharan Africa's economic and biological potential for producing wheat, scientists said today that the region's farmers may be growing only 10 to 25 percent of the production the research suggests is both biologically possible and economically profitable. With rainwater alone, and with proper use of fertilizer and other investments, 20 to 100 percent of farmlands in the 12 nations studied appear to be ecologically suitable for profitable wheat farming, according to an analysis based on advanced computer modeling techniques.
The analysis, prepared by researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), comes precisely at a time when burgeoning populations and rapid urbanization in Africa are pushing up domestic imports of increasingly expensive wheat grain. The report was released at the first conference ever to seriously explore where increased wheat growing in Africa is biologically feasible, economically profitable and internationally competitive as a hedge against food insecurity, political instability and price shocks.
The authors warned of the need for further analysis to address the economic, social and environmental impact of boosting wheat production on the rich agricultural lands of eastern and southern Africa.
"Our study suggests that if the proper investments are made, eight of the countries in our study could significantly reduce their dependence on wheat imports," said Bekele Shiferaw, a lead author and director of CIMMYT's Socioeconomics Program, based in Nairobi, Kenya. "But our work also suggests that fulfilling the promise of this study will require a shift in how the crop is viewed in sub-Saharan Africa and will only occur with significant support from governments and development agencies."
The researchers noted, however, the challenges posed by an ongoing lack of access to markets and the lack of support for addressing the growing needs of wheat farmers. "Because of the 'broad-brush' nature of the model used, harvest and profitability projections may be higher than what is likely to occur on–the-ground," said Hans-Joachim Braun, director of CIMMYT's Global Wheat Program. "However, the study points to the excellent case for wheat in Africa and the need for policy makers in individual countries to look carefully at the economic and food potential of this crop."
In 2012, African countries will spend about US$12 billion to import some 40 million tons of wheat, particularly for people who live in the rapidly growing cities of Africa. Yet across the continent, which accounts for 15 percent of the global market for wheat, farmers produce only 44 percent of the wheat consumed locally, leaving Africa's growing demand for the crop largely in the hands of global traders.
"These trends threaten the nutritional and national security of the region," said Shiferaw. "If Africa does not push for wheat self-sufficiency, it could face more hunger, instability and even political violence, as bread riots in North Africa showed in recent years. Unfortunately there is a huge gap between what Africa needs and what it is producing now. If we don't try to bridge that gap, many Africans could easily go hungry."
To arrive at these conclusions, the authors carried out a comprehensive review of economic and agricultural research and of other relevant data to understand the dynamics of the African wheat economy. They then used an integrated biological and economic simulation-based model to assess the potential for competitive and profitable wheat production in areas that could support rain-fed production. The analysis focuses on Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
While each of the 12 countries has certain areas that could be profitable for competitive domestic production, simulated yields were highest in the highland production systems of eastern and Central Africa, including Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda. In terms of sheer land area available for profitable wheat production and actual quantity of wheat that can be produced profitably (wheat yield amount, which depends on the management practices; i.e., wheat genetic potential, climate, soil fertility, among other factors), the eight countries with land areas of at least 0.5 million hectares suitable for competitive production without irrigation include the following, in order of importance:
The estimated average net economic returns per hectare are highest in the highland areas of Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, which have the most suitable soils and production conditions.
The study also concluded that fertilizer at the right levels could have a significant impact on yield and on profitability in most nations.
In three countries in southern Africa—Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe—increased wheat production in rain-fed areas may not be feasible, and irrigation would be required to grow wheat in the cool winter months. Zimbabwe is one of the most productive of the wheat-growing nations in Africa, but wheat farmers there are almost entirely dependent on irrigation.
"According to this model, Rwanda is among the countries with the highest projected average mean yield for rainfed spring wheat production worldwide," said Braun. "We are showing the promise is there, but any decisions to act on these results should rest on an in-depth review of what investments will be needed and a study of the possible economic, environmental, economic and social trade-offs of making those investments."
At the same time, researchers say that even a return on investment of US$200 per hectare would make a difference in the region, providing farmers with income and their people with a way to protect against spikes in the global price of wheat.
"Based on a net economic return per hectare of US$200, the study suggests the region is producing less than 10-25 percent of what we project could be produced profitably," said CIMMYT Director General Thomas Lumpkin. "This could mean that a select group of African nations hold great potential for profitably increasing the amount of wheat they are producing."
According to the authors of the study, the potential for expansion of wheat production is greatest in countries with some underutilized but suitable land and with good market access. Given that wheat is currently a relatively minor crop in many of the countries, farmers will not expand production until there are markets and value chains that offer competitive prices. In countries and production areas where land is scarce and labor is cheaper (e.g., many highland and mid-altitude production areas), the potential for intensive cereal production using modern varieties and inputs is high. Here market access and extension support will be the critical constraints to intensification. In areas where land is abundant and labor is scarce, wheat production using mechanization would be a feasible option.
Study pinpoints need for support from the top
To fulfill the promise in the nations identified as having great potential for increased wheat production, governments and development agencies will need to invest significantly in required infrastructure and technical support, according to Braun and his colleagues. This would include the following:
More detailed analysis of profitable ways to expand wheat production in Africa.
New, improved wheat varieties suited for different wheat-growing zones in Africa.
An effective and vibrant seed sector to ensure that seed of improved varieties is multiplied and marketed to farmers.
Effective extension services to introduce new wheat varieties and cropping techniques to smallholder farmers.
Improved practices for processing, storing and delivering wheat to market after harvest.
Development of farm-to-market value chains for wheat producers to supply grain at internationally competitive prices.
Improvements in wheat import, trade and food aid policies to prevent local producers from being crowded out.
Information on what would help locally grown wheat compete with imports in terms of taste, quality, and needs of local manufacturers.
Data on the potential for producing wheat profitably using irrigation, which would allow some farmers to make money growing wheat during the dry season.
"Governments and non-government organizations must overcome the mindset that Africa is not a wheat-producing region," said Mahmoud Solh, Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). "This study suggests that if the right things are done to support farmers, whether now or in the future, we could see a dramatic improvement in Africa's ability to feed itself by producing major staples locally, including wheat."
Source: Significant wheat production potential in 8 African nations-climate, soil and economic data analysis
It would be an absolute travesty and ecological disaster if the first world, primarily white, so-called civilized people, succeed in convincing a significant proportion of the t’ef farmers of Ethiopia to abandon t’ef and grow wheat instead. Because nearly every one of the diaspora in north america and europe MUST have their daily injera, t’ef flour has become the number one export and cash crop for the country. T’ef is entirely immune to Ug99 and other wheat fungi and pests which could at any moment mutate and spread to wipe out all human beings reliant upon wheat in their daily diet. God made diversity and white people are utter fools to try to destroy it.
It is a very good news for our farmers. Unlike the imbecile John Tucker, wheat has been the 5th cash crops until the governments banned due to food shortage (famine) in Ethiopia. And teff was not in the list. If teff is changed itself to cash crops then i dont see the problem with it. Dollar is dollar.
When some whites working day and night on hope of the future and how to make a change for Africa.
People like Almariam are wishing and dreaming famine to happen in Ethiopia in the coming years.
if those educated diaspora who are wasting time by writing rubbish the last 21 yrs spend one hour a day thinking a solution how the farmer can be better of with new technology we would haven’t been where we are now.
but most of them the run away experts choose to criticise the people who trying there best to win in there life back home.
I wish to see the day every one asking himself what did i do to my country than talking and blaming every one else except himself for all problem that happening back home.
This article is to cover up the upcoming massive famine. Don’t believe it. They are still telling us 11% growith, etc while people are starving. By now we must realize their lies.
Almariam famine sisebk, scientistoch selebezu mert aweru
There is a serious concern for food shortage even for the city dwellers as the price of food is increasing and aimed for export. I think most of Ethiopian highland such as Gojam, Arsi, Bali are suitable for the production of wheat but farmers should come together introduce mechanized agriculture in order to enhance productitivty and minimize cost of production. The use of oxen farm is not reliable as it takes too much energy and also cost us time.The harvesting of the wheat also should utilize modern machinery such as combiners, storage facilities, mills. The one advantage is that we can process all the food so as to create more jobs and also increase our income. The processing should not be stopped at that point we should introduced factories which produce cookies, pastas, and other products solely for the export.
Improving the packaging technology also help in utilizing every resource and increasing revenue. Packaging industry will help us even to market perishable goods such as tomato, fruits, and vegetables.
This will also enhance food security by preserving some of the consumables for the seasons where the fruits, or vegetables is low.
Bando ,for your Information foreigners ,specially whites ,are not working days and nights to feed Africa .On the contrary on how to make moneys on the African farmers submitted to their laws and wills .Better you turn ten times your tongue in your mouth .We invite you to meditate on the Agricultural problem of countries like Malawi ,after accepting Monsato
Seeds offered by this firm for FREE to the paysants finished by having the worst food shortage .GMOs and Land Leasing are certainly not the solutions to resolve the FAMINE problems .On the contrary let the Ethiopian Farmers cultivate their own lands without state and local
authorities pressures .It’s only on this condition that they shall have the rights to develop their own products and can feed they ,their families and the country as the whole .
Professor Almariam sele arso aderu ye Tchigir nuro sinageru , Ye woyane Aderby scientistoch nen bayotch selaltaressena selalema mert aweru,Ye woyane afekelatewotchuna agobgabyotch yehen tchimteta ende telek raeye koterew tchobe regettu !!!!LAM ALEGNI BE SEMAY WOTETEWANE YEMALAYE…endalut ye hageratchen lidjotch !!!!!…LOL !!!
No one doubts the potential these countries have. The problem as usual is lack of the right policy and good governance. The leaders, including the so called opposition, are short sighted and can’t think of anything but securing their political power.It’s a shame that 99.9% of the farmers still use medieval farm tools.
ይህን ከሰማን አመታት አለፉ አይደል !
በልጅነቴ ትዝ ይለናል 1ኛ ደረጃ ስማር አገራችን ለመላው አፍሪቃ የዳቦ ቅርጫት ልትሆን የሚያስችል የ እርሻ መሬት አላት እየተባለ በ ጂኦግራፊ ክፍል እንማር ነበር::
ታድያ ይህ አሁን ተጨምቆ የድረቀውን ወሬ እንደገና ማስጣት የደረቀን ልብስ ማቆርፈድ ይሆናል::
በርግጥም መሬታችን በደንብ ቢታረስ- በዘመናዊ የርሻ መሳርያ ማለት ነው - 9መቶ ሚሊዮን ህዝብ ይቀልባል !!
ህብረታዊ ትግል የጋራ ጠላትን ያወድማል!!!
What is new? Everybody knows Ethiopia/Africa has massive POTENTIAL in agriculture, potential bread baskets & can produce just about anything, be it wheat, teff, fruits, cash crops etc. So?
Potential & action/tangibility are as far apart as planet earth and Pluto. Quit talking & get thinking folks.
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