Ethiopia: Spice Production and Productivity, Potential for Increasing Export Volume

The agriculture sector is the pillar in the Ethiopian economy as it contributes much of to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employees’ amassed citizens. Besides, it is the major export generating sector and a means to obtain foreign currency.

As an authority to play a leading role in enhancing the export trade particularly. Coffee, tea and spice, the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority is making a good stride in diversifying the export commodities and increasing the volume.

Accordingly, the authority has scored glittering success in spice production and productivity over the preceding few years. Ethiopia is botanical garden of enormity of species while pepper and ginger are the most widely cultivated ones.

As learnt from the information of the Authority, it has obtained 100.62 million USD, and attained much more than its plan. Such amount of foreign currency is obtained by exporting 25,937.32 tons of Coffee, Tea, and Spices even though it planned to generate 50.12 million USD by exporting 17,191.21 tones last month.

Sahlemariam Gebremedhin, Communication Director of Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority had a moment with The Ethiopian Herald. Upon his short stay he highlighted the achievements of his office on the spice production and productivity over the year.

Shalemariam said that Ginger development was reinforcing in the 2020/21 cropping season, along with the task of tillage, it was planned to cultivate 35,556 hectare. Productivity: Dry Ginger 30.5 Kcal / Hr with 28.4 Kcal / Hr (93 percent) for which 12,213 Kg / NPS; 516 kg of DAP 106,358 tons of compost and 395 kg of urea were used. A total of 318,540 farmers participated of which 256,420 are males and 62,120 are females.

Regarding pepper development: During the 2020/21 harvest season, it was planned to cultivate 245,470 hectares and produce 454,000 tons. Productivity was estimated 18.5 Quintal/hectare while the performance hit 15.3 quintal/hectare (83 percent). To achieve this, 21,445 kg of NPS, 334 DAP, 69 tons of compost and 22,265 kg of urea fertilizer were used. A total of 604,647 farmers participated in the project that comprises 401,235 males and 203,412 females.

Regarding the development of coriander,-12,338 hectares of land was planned to be cultivated and reap 44.7 thousand tons in the 2020/21 cropping season. On the process 14,495 hectares (100 percent) were planted.

On the other hand, the year saw there was a target to cultivate the existing 55.605 hectares and produce 45,000 tons and 38.7 thousand tons (38.7 thousand tons). 86 percent) harvested.

It was also targeted productivity to meet 6.6 quintals / hectare while the performance gauges 7 quintals more than100 percent. This achievement has demanded with 85,624 males and 73,562 females’ participation in a total of 159,186 farmers.

Regarding Turmeric Development, during the 2020/21 cropping season, it was planned to cultivate 6,567 hectares of land and produce 25.36 thousand tons. Productivity was 38.5 quintals and 39.7 quintals (100 percent) and 25,896 men and 5,642 women participated in the project, for out of 31,538 farmers.

Ground pepper development is expected to develop 154.35 hectares of new land in the 2020/21 cropping season and produce 0.9 thousand tons.

In doing so, there have been new plantation activities of 162 hectares of land and there was 100 percent performance during development. Productivity was projected to reach 11quintal/ hectare and reached 11.2 quintal/ hectare.

Regarding the development of white cumin, it is planned to cultivate 6,385 hectares and produce 6.1 thousand tons in the 2020/21 cropping season. Eventually, having cultivated 4,579 hectare and producing 4.36 thousand ton 72 percent performance was achieved. Amid this achievement, there was the involvement of 32, 671 men and 623 women of 33,294 farmers all together.

Regarding the development of black cumin, it is planned to cultivate 15,014 hectares and produce 24,000 tons during the 2020/21 harvest season. There was aspiration to score 16 quintals productivity rate and 16.5 quintals (100 percent) yield of the plan has been achieved with participation of 19,567 men and 4,896 women farmers.

Fenugreek (Abish) development: In the 2020/21 cropping season, it was planned to cultivate 30,334 hectares and produce 36.4 thousand tons. Here (97.5 percent), a total of 41,040 farmers participated in the operation, with 24,508 men and 16,532 women participating.

Concerning Coriander development, it was set to develop 3,853 hectare of land and reap 5.9 thousand yields. Consequently, 4303 hectare of land was cultivated and 4.1 thousand tones were produced. The success needed the participation of 9,894 men and 3,254 women.

Regarding the hot chili there was aspiration to develop 4,232 hectare land and to collect 5.1 thousand tone yields while the performance hit 4303 hectare and 4.1 thousand hectare respectively. The productivity rate was set to be 12.1quintal/ hectare and its performance remained to be 9.5 quintal/hectare.

126 NPS and 63quintal urea fertilizer were used. A total of 20,501 farmers, 16,980 males and 3,521 females participated.

In terms of cardamom development, it was planned to cultivate 45 hectares of land and produce 27 quintal, the performance hit 43 hectares. Here, 341 men and 134 women participated in a total of 475 farmers.

There have been also astonishing results registered in other areas of spice development. Such a development is a bright hope for the country in increasing export volume and earning foreign currency. Hence, in order to sustain productivity there is a need to invest a lot in agriculture mechanization and supplying inputs for farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector.

So that efforts were high in the use of Fertilizer: 234,785.65 kg of artificial fertilizer and 107,367 tons of compost were used during the growing season.

Similarly, regarding Irrigation, Ginger, Pepper, hot chili and black cumin were widely cultivated. There was a target 1,778 hectare ginger and was able to achieve 2311 performance. The pepper development in irrigation scheme was set to be 12,273 hectare and it performed 12,027.5 (98 percent); It is planned to cultivate 221 hectares of land with hot chili performance reported 214.4 (97 percent), while the plan performance in white cumin development was 750 and 705 respectively.

Overall, it was planned to cover 364,006 hectares of land with a variety of spices and produce 720 thousand tons of produce. As a result, 360, 289 hectare of land was cultivated and 644 thousand tone yields were reaped.

In the first five months of the budget year, there was aspiration to export of 5,262.29 tons of spices and earn 7.14 million USD and the export volume to the oversea market was reported to be 4,826.38 which secured 9.34 million USD Compared to the 4,783.89 tons and $ 5.43 million exported during the same period last year, it grew by 0.89% in volume and 72.02% in terms of revenue.

Like coffee, various efforts are being made to streamline the overall spice trade. One of the missions of the Authority is to upgrade the spice industry, but like coffee, it has not been widely used in terms of support, extension, technology, and modern marketing.

However, if the sector is properly mobilized, in addition to supporting the country’s economy, it will have a significant impact on the lives of the people involved in the sector, especially women and youth.

The spice Agriculture needs due concern, sometimes the export might be threatened by aflatoxin and lacked preference in the international market due adulteration

Hence, the share of spices export has been remained low compared to the country’s total export earnings. Therefore, intervention and provide awareness for spices growers on using improved production and processing technology, training across all value chains, formulating strong marketing regulations and proclamation is of paramount importance to increase the production, profits and export values.

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