The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) held its annual review meeting on January 25-26 in Asmara, under the theme “Safe and Nutritious Food for Everyone, Everywhere.”
According to the report of the Department of Agricultural Extension, in 2023, soil and water conservation activities covered a total of 26,000 hectares of land, while about 5,600 cubic meters of check dams were constructed in the during the same year. The report highlights a 61% increase from the previous year, highlighting the need to redouble efforts to achieve better results.
The report also notes the successful completion of 16 micro-dams in 2023, thanks to the collaborative efforts of agricultural experts, local communities and members of the defense forces. Additionally, construction of 25 additional micro-dams is currently underway, and there are plans to begin and complete 17 additional micro-dams by 2024.
In the six administrative regions, more than 521,000 hectares of land were cultivated during the rainy season, with cereals accounting for 83%, pulses 13% and oilseeds 4% of the total. This crop represents 92% of planned agricultural activity.
Concerning the production of fruits and vegetables, the report indicates a harvest of approximately 178,000 tonnes of various vegetables on approximately 13,000 hectares, including more than 5,000 hectares devoted to fruit cultivation, producing approximately 76,000 tonnes.
Notable trends in this sub-sector include the involvement of around 920 farmers, the majority of whom are new, in the cultivation of sweet potatoes and a total of 23,000 date palms. In addition, significant progress has been recorded in the livestock and beekeeping sub-sector, with more than one million livestock vaccinated.
The report presented by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) highlights the main achievements, such as the multiplication of improved varieties of bread wheat and pasta, the pioneering development in the country of hybrid corn, the start of cassava production, effective research on nutritious foods, tissue-based production of cultivation of improved crop varieties, breeding of more productive dairy cattle, improvement of fodder-based dairy production systems and identification of meritorious livestock breeds.
In addition, intensive monitoring activities covered a total of 1.8 million hectares, mainly in the northern Red Sea region, and focused on locust control. This effort successfully contained locust infestations on more than 31,000 hectares of land. Tree locust infestations on 38,000 hectares in the western lowlands were also controlled, following monitoring of around 150,000 hectares. In 2023, the ministry, in collaboration with relevant agencies, successfully controlled African armyworm outbreaks across 430 hectares in the Central, Southern and Anseba regions.
The Regulatory Services Department (RSD) said regular inspections were carried out at meat and milk production and processing facilities, as well as slaughterhouses.
The department, in collaboration with relevant agencies, published and distributed an updated seed policy and a new policy on organic fertilizers 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 livestock vaccines against PPR and NCDs.
In his closing speech, Mr. Arefaine Berhe, Minister of Agriculture, announced the official launch of the Ministry’s new 2024-2028 strategic plan, aligned with the roadmap “Safe and nutritious food for everyone, everywhere”. Minister Arefaine emphasized that the main objective of this roadmap 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 depends on the active participation of small and medium commercial farmers, the implementation of the integrated minimum package of domestic agriculture and the involvement of all farmers in crop and livestock production.
Minister Arefaine concluded by emphasizing the importance of empowering experts working at the level of villages and administrative areas to achieve this objective.
Distributed by APO Group for the Ministry of Information of Eritrea.