AGRICULTURAL SECTOR IN ERITREA, AN EXAMPLE FOR AFRICA.
Eritrea stands out as an example in the agricultural sector in Africa.
Agriculture is by far the single most important economic activity in the continent. It provides employment for about two-thirds of the Africa's working population and each country contributes an average of about 30 to 60% of the value of exports.
As much as 80 percent of the population in Eritrea is engaged in agriculture which accounts for over 24% of GDP and almost all rural employment.
After the Eritrean War of Independence, agriculture was one of the many sectors that suffered destruction. Primary constraints on agricultural development include erratic rainfall, rainfed and inefficient farming systems. As a result, significant investments have been made by the Ministry of Agriculture into the industry over the past 30 independence years.
During the period of 1991 to 2021, major achievements have been realised in the agricultural sector such as natural resource management. Other developments also include purchases worth millions of dollars of agricultural machinery and the construction of hundreds of dams.
Presently, a total 785 water-holding structures of varying sizes and types have been constructed which has systematically increased the total area of irrigated land by approximately fivefold.
Another important step includes the revision of policy and strategy by the Ministry of Agriculture in accordance with the current farming environment.
Now, Eritrea is able to produces many agricultural products that were previously imported from neighboring countries. A step which makes Eritrea stand out as an example in the continent in the agricultural sector.
Conserving soil and water has been one of the top priorities of Eritrea’s national agricultural strategy.
This is because Eritrea receives low and erratic annual rainfall. Moreover, its landscape is characterized by rugged terrains that expose the land to erosion and degradation.
Reports from the Natural Resources and Irrigation Development Division of the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that a total of 257,000 hectares of land has been treated with different kinds of structures and around 4.5 million cubic meter of check-dams constructed by different popular campaigns.
Following the launch of National Greening Campaign in 2006 and the establishment of the forest and Wildlife Authority in 2012, significant and positive contribution has been made to natural resource management in the country, including through helping instill a culture of tree planting and soil and water conservation within communities.
Eritrea's main agricultural products
include sorghum, millet, barley, wheat, legumes, vegetables, fruits, sesame, linseed, cattle, sheep, goats and camels.
Since 2006, approximately 45 million tree seedlings have been planted in catchments, along roadsides, schools, various public spaces, and on the grounds of different government and religious institutions. In addition, a large percentage of land has been classified as protected and placed within enclosures, supporting biodiversity and the recovery of wildlife.
The United Nations Security Council lifted sanctions on Eritrea in November 2018, widening the space for international cooperation. The peace dividend offers Eritrea new opportunities to reallocate public resources, create opportunities for youth and update its development strategies.