Tigrai Online, May 23, 2012
The Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency (CSA) announced that Ethiopia harvested more than 218.5 million quintals of crops during the main harvesting season known as Mehir. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) had planned to harvest 205 million quintals of crops based on the forecast CSA made earlier this year.
This produce which comes from smallholder farms represents a 7.4 annual growth rate as compared to the same harvest season last year which amounts to 203.4 million quintals.
The agency took 2,273 sample plots across the country in order to scientifically calculate the crop yield, according to Samiya Zekariya, head of the agency.
“The Agency carried out its forecast based on its field experience. It took 2,273 sample areas across the country, incorporating around 68 thousand households.
“We gathered a harvest from two by two areas in the statistically representative sample size we have identified earlier. And then we weighted the result,” said the head of the agency while explaining how they came up with the figure to journalists last Monday in the agencies’ head quarters.
The smallholder farmers managed to cover more than 12.8 million hectares of land to produce the crops. The country harvested more than 188 million quintals including 23 million quintals of cereals, and seven million quintals of oil seeds. This is, on average, a productivity of 18 quintals per hectare.
The total area cultivated this Mehir season has increased by almost one million hectares as compared to last season.
Though the statistical information gathered portrayed a growth in the overall crop production, the contribution of cereals and oilseeds was the highest. Cereal contributed more than 18 percent and oilseeds 15 percent.
“The shift in the growth of cereals and oilseeds as compared to major food crops clearly indicates that famers are following the foot steps of markets incentives. They prefer to produce higher valued crops,” she explained.
The Mehir season agricultural produce covers about 90 percent of the countries’ crop production while the remaining 10 percent occurs during the Belg season. This year’s Belg rain came a month later than the usual time, which is March. This has cast a cloud of fear among humanitarian organizations operating in the area of drought relief.
However, CSA is hopeful that the country will collect more than 18 million quintals of crops from the Belg season both from small holder farmers and that of commercial farms. Both parties are expected to collect nine million quintals from this troubled season. If the expectation of the CSA is materialized, the annual crop production will swell to 237 million quintals.