By Staff Reporter
August 17, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia is set to import four million quintals of wheat until the first week of September 2019 as part of an effort to ease the burden of souring inflation on the public, an official has said
Briefing journalists on Saturday, Public Relations Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation Haji Ibsaa said prices of food items, mainly wheat and other grains, have soared since June this year.
According to the Director, inflation rate on food items was reported 19.6 in June and 20.1 percent in July 2019. Similarly, the prices of food oil and sugar have increased for no obvious reasons.
The director attributed the soaring inflation to security problems and decrease in productivity resulting from security concerns.
1.5 million quintals of wheat have already reached to port of Djibouti and will be distributed before the end of this month, he added.
Three months ago, the ministry of agriculture announced plans to end wheat import by introducing mechanized farming and helping small-scale farmers engage in irrigation agriculture.
The ministry officials indicated that shortage of inputs, including fertilizer, improved seeds and pesticides, as some of the challenges Ethiopian agriculture is facing at the moment, in addition to backward farming techniques small-scale farmers have been using for centuries.
At the end of this harvest season the country expects to harvest 374 million quintals of major crops, including wheat. Wheat accounts for fourth largest share of total cereal production in Ethiopia.
Headline inflation, which was almost stagnant for the past three months, rose to a record high in five years, hitting 15.6pc last month, according to the latest consumer price index from the Central
Statistical Agency (CSA).
The increase of both the headline inflation and food prices was attributed to the two-fold price increase of food items and spices, according to the CSA's report, which was released earlier this month.
Currently, Ethiopia spends annually around one billion dollars on wheat and fertilizers imports. Ethiopian agriculture is still dominated by small-scale farmers who are engaged in rain-fed agriculture throughout the country and the country has huge potential for irrigation and mechanized farming.
Meanwhile, the ministry of finance and economic cooperation disclosed that 326-billion-birr revenue has been obtained from tax and non-tax titles during the past Ethiopian budget year which ended July 7, 2019.
The income represents 85 percent of the target amount, the lion's share of which is from direct tax .