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Barren Farmlands

Barren Farmlands

Sectoral study commission by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn one year ago is turning tides in the nation’s agricultural sector. Still among the leading contributors to the GDP and being the biggest employer in the country, agriculture is the of primary policy interest to the public and politicians alike. With 266 million quintals annual crop production, the agriculture sector has managed to attain food self-sufficiency a few years ago although it is long way from achieving food security. The government placed much hope on the commercial farming sub-sector to attain food security while ensuring sustainable supply of inputs to the manufacturing sector. Well, as it turned out this was not that easy. According to the report, if commercial farming in Gambella is being taken as showcase, the sub-sector is in no shape to achieve food security, something which has eluded the country for so long. In a nut shell, the mix of local and foreign investor which have setup shop in Gambella are mainly after the host of incentive packages such as bank loans, duty free privileges and large tact of fertile land at cheap lease prices. Furthermore, the way the regional bodies are licensing investors, allocating land and administering their land resources leave much to be desired while the Development Bank of Ethiopia’s loan approval process was also tainted with corrupt practices. The investors, on the other hand, take issue with this characterization saying the government is at fault for not providing the support it promised to provide.