Ethiopia’s wheat, corn production jumps

April 14, 2021

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Ethiopia’s wheat production is on the rise as the government has dedicated more resources to the production of the commodity such as irrigation and input supply, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Wheat production in the 2020-21 marketing year is projected to be 5.1 million tonnes due to a small desert locust infestation, resulting in quantity and quality losses.

However, the USDA’s forecast for Ethiopia’s wheat production in the 2021-22 marketing year is expected to be a record 5.18 million tonnes. Wheat production in Ethiopia is limited to smallholder farmers who use rainfed ag, but the government recently has allocated $6 million to create better irrigation, input supply and machinery rental services.  

Ethiopia remains a net importer of wheat, importing about 25% needed to fill domestic demand. The USDA anticipates the country to import about 1.5 million tonnes.

The USDA projects Ethiopia’s corn production in the 2021-22 marketing year to be 8.63 million tonnes. Corn production in Ethiopia has risen over the last 20 years due to improved hybrid seed, increased food and feed demand, livestock fattening and dairy development. The country is expected to import about 35,000 tonnes of corn in the 2021-2022 marketing year through food aid only.

Ethiopia’s sorghum production is challenged by a desert locust and weed infestation. The USDA forecasts the commodity production to remain at five million tonnes in the 2021-22 marketing year. Ethiopia is expected to import 25,000 tonnes of sorghum in the 2021-22 marketing year to meet the 5.17 million tonne consumption demand in the same marketing year.

Based on new malt factory construction and increased demand for food and feed barley Ethiopia’s production of the commodity has been increasing. The USDA estimates Ethiopia’s barley production in the 2021-22 marketing year to be 2.36 million tonnes, a slight increase over the previous year. Barley imports in the 2021-22 marketing year are anticipated to total 4,000 tonnes as domestic production is expected to fill local demand.

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