Reading Time: 4 minutes
In recent years, the Ethiopian government has been actively promoting and supporting urban agricultural initiatives to address various challenges and harness the potential of urban areas for food production.
Lemat turfat (Urban agriculture), which is the practice of growing crops, keeping livestock, and carrying out other agricultural operations in urban areas, is a rapidly developing sector in Ethiopia that has attracted a lot of interest. It is essential for boosting nutrition, increasing food security, generating jobs, and encouraging sustainable urban growth.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture has implemented a number of policies to support the development of Lemat turfat since it understands its significance. These strategies include helping urban farmers with resources and inputs, developing their capacity, assisting with policy, and providing technical support.
Behind the promotion of urban agriculture is increasing urbanization rate in the country. As more people move to cities, the demand for food in urban areas has been rising. Lemat turfat helps bridge the gap between food production and consumption by bringing agriculture closer to consumers. It reduces the reliance on long-distance transportation and contributes to the availability of fresh and nutritious food within urban areas.
Furthermore, Lemat turfat also provides potential for poverty alleviation and revenue production, especially for marginalized communities living in urban areas. This makes it possible for people to cultivate their own food, sell extra produce, and take part in value-added industries like agribusiness and food processing. Urban agriculture enhances the financial security of urban dwellers by establishing jobs and revenue-generating ventures.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture data shows that after the reform, the government began working on a number of initiatives by creating ten-year development plans in an effort to assist the community in achieving food security in a sustainable manner. The government has prioritized agriculture in its development plan, and as a result, it is making great efforts to address the issue of food scarcity by boosting productivity through the Lemat turfat program.
Kebede Lakew, Public Relations and Communication Executive Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture told the Ethiopian Herald that about five billion 726 liters of milk, 328 thousand tons of beef, and 96.7 thousand tons of honey were produced in the first five months of the 2016 fiscal year.
He further stated that efforts are being made to improve the productivity and production of chicken meat and eggs. In just five months, 88.8 thousand tons of chicken meat, over three billion eggs, 38.4 thousand tons of fish and 10.6 million hides were produced.
According to him, in an effort to increase honey production in five months, some 315 thousand modern beehives had been distributed across the country.
The Ethiopian government has also recognized the environmental benefits of urban agriculture. It encourage small-scale farming and gardening on vacant lots, rooftops, and balconies in urban areas. This not only maximizes the use of available land but also contributes to green spaces, biodiversity, and the overall aesthetics of cities. Additionally, urban agriculture can play a role in waste management and recycling by utilizing organic waste as compost for urban farms.
Additionally, to support urban agricultural initiatives, the government has been providing technical assistance and capacity building to urban farmers. This includes training programs on modern farming techniques, sustainable practices, pest management, and post-harvest handling. Access to quality seeds, fertilizers, and other agricultural inputs has also been facilitated to ensure productivity and the adoption of best practices.
Furthermore, the government has been working on creating an enabling policy environment for urban agriculture. It has developed guidelines and regulations to govern land use, zoning, and livestock management in urban areas. These policies aim to ensure the sustainability of urban agricultural practices, prevent conflicts with other land uses, and protect public health and safety.
He mentioned that strengthening the breed of dairy cows is another one of the Lemat Turufat Program’s special emphasis activities; efforts are being made to produce better animal breeds and an enhanced seed supply.
He mentioned that a lot of work is being done to provide a range of vaccination services in order to safeguard the wellbeing of animals. He also stated that in this way he has prevented the spread of animal diseases across international borders, stopped the resurgence of Tsetse fly sickness and other infestations, and cleared newly contaminated areas of these diseases.
The integration of technology and innovation has also been a focus in urban agriculture in Ethiopia. The government has been exploring the use of modern technologies, such as hydroponics and vertical farming, to maximize productivity in limited urban spaces. These technologies allow for year-round production, efficient use of water and nutrients, and higher crop yields.
He emphasized that the primary goals of Lemat’s turfat are to boost the nation’s productivity and output of livestock, guarantee food security for urban citizen as well as the entire nation, boost export revenue, replace imported goods, and generate employment opportunities, all of which have a big impact on the expansion of the economy of the country. Moreover, Lemat turfat has established a history as a link between farmers and consumers, as well as farming by itself; they have reported positive outcomes across the country.
Besides, the Ethiopian government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has been actively supporting and promoting urban agricultural initiatives through policy support, capacity building, and resource provision and through harnessing the potential of urban areas for food production, Ethiopia aims to address the challenges of urbanization, improve nutrition, and create inclusive and resilient cities.
By encourage social networking between researchers, practitioners, and urban dwellers to share best practices, ideas, and experiences about urban agriculture. Examine the potential for offering financial incentives, such grants, subsidies, or tax deductions, to people or groups who can assist in increasing the number of participants in this sector. Offer aspiring urban dwellers resources, training program access, and technical support even more. Through promote the development of community gardens as well, so that people can join together to grow crops together.
These areas encourage social contact, awareness exchange, and community involvement. Assist in obtaining land, setting up the garden, and making supplies like water, tools, and seeds accessible.
BY FIKADU BELAY
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD WEDNESDAY 24 JANUARY 2024