Ministry invites more private investment to tap agriculture potential

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Addis Ababa, December 31 – Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) said more needs to be done to attract private investors to engage in commercial agriculture to tap into the country’s huge potential.

In an exclusive interview with WIC, Tefera Deribew, minister of agriculture, said large scale commercial farmers in the country are registering ‘encouraging’ results but insisted a lot has to be done to ensure more success.

Ethiopia is touted as a nation with huge agriculture potential with diverse ecological zones suitable for various types of crops, abundant ground and surface water resources and cheap labor.

According to the ministry, Ethiopia’s potential arable land is estimated to be nearly 70 million hectares, out of which 12 million hectares have, so far, been developed.

“We have identified nearly 3 million hectares of arable land for potential foreign and local investors,” Tefera said.

With a view to tapping the huge agriculture potential, which contributes up to 43 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the government is attracting large scale commercial farmers.

Foreign investors, mainly, from Asia and the Middle East, are engaged in large scale farming, particularly in the lowlands of the country where the potential remains largely untapped.

The minister admits the achievements gained so far from commercial farmers have not met government expectations but remains optimist of future success.

“We are witnessing introduction of new technologies and new crops which, in future, will help us develop the sector,” Tefera said.

With the country’s ideal geographical location to market destinations in Europe and Asia and a state owned world class airline with air cargo service dubbed among the fastest growing in the world, the ministry predicts bright future for country’s agriculture sector

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