Ministry hails farmers’ transformation from subsistence to commercial farming

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Addis Ababa, 4 March 2014 (WIC) - Ministry of Agriculture singles out transformation of farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming as one of the biggest achievements of the sector in the last two decades.

In an exclusive interview with WIC, Tefera Deribew, minister of agriculture, said farmers are shifting away from subsistence farming.

“We are beginning to witness farmers producing for commercial. I think that is the biggest success registered within the agriculture sector,” Tefera said.

“Instead of just focusing to grow crops to feed themselves, they are beginning to produce what the market need,” Tefera said. “Not just domestic but also international markets,” the minister added.

Agriculture is a key driver of Ethiopia’s long-term growth and food security. It constitutes 43 percent of the country’s GDP and supports 85 percent of the population. The sector accounts for 85 percent of foreign currency the country earns.

Nearly 16 percent of the government’s public expenditures are committed to the sector, one of the highest in Africa.

According to the ministry, the sector has registered an average of 8 percent annual growth in the past decade.

“Only very few African countries have managed to even meet the six percent agricultural growth target as set in the Maputo Declaration and subsequently under CAADP [Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program],” Tefera said.

Ethiopia expects the agriculture sector to serve as a spring board to bring about structural transformation in the long run through its contribution to industrial growth.

During the GTP period, the country aims to enhance productivity and production of smallholder farmers and pastoralists, strengthen marketing systems, improve participation and engagement of the private sector, expand the amount of land under irrigation and reduce the number of chronically food insecure households.