By Mengisteab Teshome
ADDIS ABABA- Efforts are in the pipeline to beefing up horticulture sub-sector and increase export revenue by honing experiences from well experienced nations like Israel, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources disclosed.
Speaking on “Israeli Solutions to Ethiopia’s Agricultural Needs” workshop on Thursday, Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister Dr. Eyasu Abrha indicated that the country earned 245 million USD from horticulture export in 2013/14, but the amount should be improved further, he added.
“To attain this, we need to modernize agriculture sector and wisely use our water and soil resources, among others,” he said.
Knowing and appreciating the lead role of the State of Israel in transforming world agriculture, Ethiopia is ready to benefit from the existing close bilateral and friendly collaboration, he added.
“We recognize the hard work and invention of the Israel scientists in developing appropriate and new technologies developed by companies and experts including computer drip irrigation, computer early warning systems for leaks, thermal imaging for crop water stress detection… ,” he enlisted.
Expressing keen interest to transfer and use the technologies, Dr. Eyasu said that the agriculture sector accounts for half of gross domestic product, 83.9 percent and 80 percent of total employment.
“These favorable conditions only in a decade old practice have placed Ethiopia to be the fifth revenue earner.”
For his part, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Ethiopia, Raphel Morav, confirmed that Israel is primed to encourage Ethiopia’s efforts in actualizing food security as well as assisting to boost horticulture production and export.
“Israel as well acknowledges Ethiopia’s potential in the agriculture sector both in cereal and horticulture and animal farm,” he commented.
The conference is a triennial event, which is one of the most important, professional agricultural events internationally, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from around the world, it was learnt.
In Rwanda the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture visited the event with about 35 participants from the public sector. Approximately about 20 owners of agricultural companies from all over the country participated in the event.
The two days of the seminar also included a visit to the Center for Agricultural Excellence which was established by Israel in Rwanda, and thus the participants were able to see the Israeli technologies and the difference in products. The Deputy Director General for R & D of the Ministry of Agriculture encouraged the companies to visit the AGRITECH Israel exhibition, and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce is organizing a delegation on their behalf for the event in Israel.