Direttore Generale  QU Dongyu

Director-General visits flagship Ethiopia wheat farm


Koka, Ethiopia – The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) QU Dongyu today visited a large-scale irrigated wheat farm at Koka, about 100 km south-east of Addis Ababa, to witness the Government of Ethiopia’s push for wheat self-sufficiency.

High-level authorities from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Institute (ATI) briefed the Director General and his delegation on the strategies and inputs that Ethiopia has applied when embarking on large-scale production of wheat.    

During the event, Girma Amante, Minister of Agriculture, explained the country’s initiative of curbing wheat import through implementing winter irrigation since 2019 has been registering promising results. However, the demand is still high to satisfy both domestic consumption and export requests. For that reason, he said, the country will expand its production with an additional 1 million hectares of irrigated wheat in 2023. This will enable them to harvest 56 million quintals and increase the total wheat production of the country to 107 million quintals.

Recognizing the bold measures and commitments the Ethiopian Government showed to engage in large-scale wheat production, the FAO Director-General said the country has demonstrated a great deal of commitment to boosting the production of wheat.

“Ethiopia has a great potential for agricultural growth, with the introduction of diversified varieties of seed for different ecological zones, supported by new digital technologies, innovation and science across the entire value chain,” he underscored.

The Director-General was in Ethiopia to attend the 36th African Union Summit and to speak at a side event on nutrition with African Heads of State, co-hosted by FAO, the African Union and the African Development Bank.

About wheat production in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has engaged in large-scale wheat production, using modern and traditional irrigation systems during the winter season. The purpose of this initiative is to boost an average productivity of 40 quintals per hectare by applying innovation and technology that are appropriate to winter irrigation, which will make up to 52 million quintals of additional wheat production.     

Currently, the government is working on cluster wheat farms, setting an annual target of plantation on 1 300 000 hectares. However, the plantation has already exceeded the set target, standing at 1’346.815 hectares (103.60 per cent). Using the Global Positioning System (GPS) data, the government extensively used irrigations, tractors and water pumps, as well as fertilizers and pesticides to boost wheat cultivation at different stages (growing, flowering, maturing and harvested), which so far provided from 48 to 64 quintals per hectare yield.