Ethiopia is endowed with abundant agricultural resources and has diverse ecological zones. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. The Government of Ethiopia (GOE) has identified key priority intervention areas to increase the productivity of smallholder farms and expand large-scale commercial farms. Under the new administration, the GOE has renewed emphasis to develop the agriculture sector and ensure food security. Among the top priorities identified by the GOE include small and large-scale irrigation development, financing agricultural inputs, increasing the productivity of crops and livestock, improving agricultural production methods using mechanization, post-harvest loss reduction, developing a research-based food security system, and natural resource management. In addition, as part of the Home-Grown Economic Reform agenda, the government is looking to the agro-processing sector as one engine to spur future economic growth. With respect to increasing productivity, the GOE, alongside its international partners, has made a number of interventions to support the development of the agriculture sector.
Principal crops include coffee (the largest foreign exchange earner), pulses (beans), oilseeds cereals, potatoes, sugarcane, and vegetables. Ethiopia is Africa’s second-biggest maize producer, whilst other important and growing agricultural exports include hides and skins (leather products).
Ethiopia is also the continent’s leading producer and exporter of beeswax and honey. The country has approximately 7 million bee colonies. Other important agricultural activities include tea production, which has reached approximately 4,000 metric tons of output in recent years, and cotton and sugar production. Moreover, there are opportunities for expanding the cultivation and export of dried fruits, cut flowers, and canned vegetable products.
The agricultural sector is a government priority with a robust plan focused on improving agricultural production productivity and commercialization, resulting in many opportunities for global business and the hosting of industry sector meetings within Ethiopia.