This month marks the end of Belg season-which is between February and May. Next up is Meher (June to September). Both are the major crop cultivation seasons of the country. For a nation which relays on rain shower to produce the bulk of its agricultural products, modern agricultural practices would not be a matter of choice rather it is a matter of survival.
The country's vast arable land together with suitable climate for production did not get appropriate attention in the past times. Hence, drought which traditionally recurred every ten years made the nation to loose thousands of its people and animals, leaving its protracted effects. Over the past two decades, however, dramatic improvements are being recorded in the agricultural sector. Still, the journey to attain the ambition of the nation pertaining to maximizing agricultural product and productivity requires a great deal of commitment both from government and the public.
That is also the reason behind the 9th EPRDF Organizational Congress decisions which include effectively mobilizing the development force; thereby, enhancing product & productivity and stretching miraculous achievements- of some farmers, semi-pastoralist and pastoralist- gained thus far across the entire nation.
According to evidences the current Belg season has normal onset and cessation, as has been reported. This means climatic shocks are unlikely to set barriers on the Belg's production. But it is transparent that it is not a sufficient condition to increase product and productivity, particularly that of various food crops. As it is mentioned above supporting the farming and semi-pastorial community with the right scientific methods of agricultural practices would be of high value. For this, unreserved and high commitment from all stakeholders is fundamental. In fact, the Belg season is soon to leave place for the Meher (also Kiremt). And the centre of commitments may slightly vary for the former and the latter. Focusing on the protection of losses of crop plants due to menaces like over flooding, pest, weeds among other are important for the former. While preparation of land, select seed, fertilizer, inter alia, are too crucial for the latter.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, it is planned to cultivate around 11. 7 million hectares of land for major crop production during these cultivation seasons. In this connection, training farmers as well as semi-pastoralists is central. Without these, attaining the set goals would be just an illusion. Accordingly, 11.4 million farmers, semi-pastoralists and pastoralists would receive an extensive trainings which help them carry out their tasks scientifically, according to the Ministry. In so doing, productivity is estimated to increase by 19.2 quintals per hectare. Bringing this plan into reality means producing 226 million quintals by the end of the harvesting time.
Indeed, that is a wonderful plan! Howbeit, unless hard-boiled efforts-be it in finance or human power- can be extended, the result will be less than expectations. No confusion, if the in-put is low, the out-put will also be same. Therefore, working hand-in-glove between the various bodies that works on agriculture sector in relation to making a timely supply of adequate select seed and fertilizer is one important input. On top of that, liming acidic soil, filtering of black soil, employing advanced sowing methods like that of line sowing...help to meet the plan appropriately.
Consequently, it is a critical time for the Ministry of Agriculture to bring its plan as well as the set goals in the GTP into reality. The plans should be made practical and bring objective results. For this a proper mobilizing of resources in terms of human power and finance along with high level of commitment, working with a sense of belongingness, inter alia, are pillars to execute the plan as desired. A matter that should be considered with equal magnitude is working in close coordination with state agricultural bureaus and experts at grassroots. Hence, the country can make the best out of the seasons.