MAJOR SUCCESSES IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR IN ERITREA
Agriculture has remained the main economic activity in Eritrea, accounting for about 24% of GDP and almost all rural employment.
Over the past 30 Independence years, reports from various departments of the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that commendable achievements have been registered in different areas.
After the Eritrean War of Independence, agriculture was one of the many sectors that was completely destroyed. Since then, significant investment has been made into the industry which includes purchases worth millions of dollars of agricultural machinery and the construction of hundreds of dams of varying sizes and types. At independence, there were only 138 ponds and dams in the country. Currently, the figure has risen to 785. Systematically the total area of irrigated land had increased approximately by fivefold.
The Ministry of agriculture had revised its policy and strategy in accordance with the current farming environment. Now, Eritrea is able to produce many agricultural products that were previously imported from neighboring countries. During the period of 1991 to 2021, major achievements have been realised in the agricultural sector such as natural resource management.
Eritrea has 565,000 hectares of arable land, located in the Sub-saharan part of Africa. It receives low and erratic annual rainfall and is characterized by rugged terrains that expose the land to erosion and degradation.
As a result, conserving soil and water has been one of the top priorities in the country's national agricultural strategy.
According to the Natural Resources and Irrigation Development Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, 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.
Since 2006, around 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.
Efficient and safer stoves have been designed and manufactured by experts to reduce tree cutting for firewood. The stoves known as 'Adhanet' has significantly reduced the use of wood by over 50%. At present, about 170,000 improved stoves have been installed throughout the country.