The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) conducted its annual assessment meeting on 25 and 26 January in Asmara, under the theme “Safe and Nutritious Food for Everyone, Everywhere.”
According to the report from the Agricultural Extension Department, in 2023, soil and water conservation activities covered a total of 26,000 hectares of land, while approximately 5,600 cubic meters of check-dams were constructed during the same year. The report highlights a 61% increase compared to the previous year, emphasizing the need for even greater efforts to achieve better outcomes.
The report also notes the successful completion of 16 micro-dams in 2023, thanks to the collaborative efforts of agriculture experts, local communities, and members of the defense forces. Additionally, construction is currently underway for 25 more micro-dams, with plans to commence and conclude an additional 17 micro-dams within the year 2024.
Across the six administrative regions, more than 521,000 hectares of land were cultivated with crops during the rainy season, with cereals accounting for 83%, pulses for 13%, and oil crops for 4% of the total. This cultivation represents 92% of the planned agricultural activity.
Regarding fruits and vegetable production, the report indicates a harvest of about 178,000 tons of various vegetables from approximately 13,000 hectares, with over 5,000 hectares dedicated to fruit cultivation, yielding around 76,000 tons.
Notable trends in this sub-sector include the involvement of approximately 920 farmers, majority of who are new, in sweet potato cultivation and a total of 23,000 date palm trees. Additionally, significant achievements were recorded in the livestock sub-sector and beekeeping, with over 1 million livestock receiving vaccinations.
The report presented by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) highlights key accomplishments, such as the multiplication of improved bread and pasta wheat varieties, pioneering in-country development of hybrid maize, the commencement of cassava production, effective research on nutritious foods, tissue-culture-based production of improved plant varieties, breeding of more productive dairy cattle, enhancement of forage-based dairy production systems, and the identification of meritorious livestock breeds.
Furthermore, intensive surveillance activities covered a total of 1.8 million hectares of land, mainly in the Northern Red Sea Region, focusing on desert locust control. This effort successfully contained desert locust infestations in over 31,000 hectares of land. Tree locust infestations on 38,000 hectares in the western lowlands were also controlled, following surveillance on approximately 150,000 hectares. In 2023, the Ministry, in collaboration with relevant bodies, managed to control outbreaks of the African Armyworm on 430 hectares in the Central, Southern, and Anseba Regions.
The Regulatory Services Department (RSD) reported that regular inspections were conducted at meat and milk production and processing facilities, as well as slaughterhouses.
The department, in collaboration with relevant bodies, published and distributed an updated version of the seed policy and a new policy on organic fertilizer in the previous year, along with other policy manuals and guidelines.
A significant achievement of the National Animal and Plant Health Laboratory in 2023 was the production of standard and internationally recognized PPR and NCD livestock vaccines.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Arefaine Berhe, the Minister of Agriculture, announced the official launch of the new 2024-2028 strategic plan of the Ministry, aligned with the roadmap of “Safe and Nutritious Food for Everyone, Everywhere.” Minister Arefaine emphasized that this roadmap’s main focus is to enable every Eritrean household to produce safe and nutritious food or purchase it at a fair price.
He stressed that achieving this goal relies on the active participation of small and medium commercial farmers, the implementation of the Minimum Integrated Household Agricultural Package, and the involvement of all farmers in crop and livestock production.
Minister Arefaine concluded by highlighting the importance of empowering experts working at the village and administrative area levels to realize the goal.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Information, Eritrea.