Horticulture and the Growing of Crops in Ethiopia describes the local agricultural sector, the impact of the drought, and factors influencing the success of the sector. The report profiles ten Ethiopian role players, including AQ Roses Plc which exports 100 million rose stems per annum and ELFORA Agro-Industries Plc, which focuses on the production of cereals, fruit, vegetables and animal fodder. Also profiled is Horizon Plantations Plc, which owns some of the largest coffee plantations in the world, and state-owned Ethiopian Sugar Corporation (ESC), the only sugar producer in the country.
Horticulture and the Growing of Crops in Ethiopia
Ethiopia's economy is dependent on its agricultural sector, which contributed 38.8% to the country's GDP in the 2014/15 financial year. The African Statistical Yearbook indicates that during 2014 the sector accounted for 90% of the country’s export earnings, while 77.4% of the economically active population were involved in agriculture. The agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder farmers who account for 95% of the sector’s production, and who consume 80% of their crop production. Coffee is the largest source of export revenue, contributing 20% to Ethiopia’s total export earnings during 2015, and supporting an estimated 15 million people, or about 15% of the total population.
Although investment into the sector has increased and agriculture is one of government’s priorities, the sector has not reached its potential. Crop yields are low because of the limited use of improved seeds, fertilisers and pesticides and only 6% of cultivated land is under irrigation. Due to its dependence on natural rainfall, the country’s agricultural sector is vulnerable to environmental and climate-related shocks. During 2015 Ethiopia faced the most severe drought in 30 years, resulting in an estimated 10.2 million people becoming food insecure, while 1.7 million households had to be provided with seeds in order to resume food production.