You see people on a sunny day out one their farm, proudly showing off row after row of blossoming orange trees, separated by dandelion-dotted shrubs. Eritrea has a very health climate. Its warm temperature in the lowland, mediterranean climate in the highlands has high agricultural potential and rapidly developing small scale industrial infrastructures that are encourage by the agricultural products. Eritrean’s love to farm. Love alone want make a difference, intervention is needed.
To achieve food sufficiency the government made the agriculture sector a priority. In order to modernise agriculture sector and its products the government opened the Hamelmalo College of Agriculture. The college is the main sources of agricultural experts. It was incepted in 2005. Since its formation the collage has achieved thirteen graduations in a total of 5,145 graduates. With some graduates gonging overseas for further education.
These 5,145 college graduates have been the main drivers of changes in the agricultural sector. The Ministry of Agriculture recently stated that farming has taken a new look in Eritrea. The traditional farming is being replaced by modernised farming. From small scale farming to large scale farms have expanded tremendously. Vegetable and fruits farming have swelled, the number of farmers have increased seven fold. Due to the increase in the number of farmers the output of vegetables and fruits have grown double fold.
To promote vegetable and fruit farming sector and increase output the Ministry of Agriculture is introducing natural compost fertilisers and selected seeds that resist pesticides and draught with high volume of output. In-addition to supporting the farming sector, the ministry have trained over 100,000 farmers and 5,000 experts. Since water harvesting and soil reservation are the fundamental of the agriculture sector, over the past 2.5 decades the government has built several dams of different size to accommodate the framers with ample sources of water and invested billions in soil reservations.
Understanding the value and demand for water in all developmental projects such as: agriculture, mining, manufacturing industry and housing projects the government built in aggregate 785 dams. Additional 200 small size dams that hold under ten thousand cubic water accommodating herders and cattle ranchers. In Eritrea there are reserved area for grazing animals, water supply and veterinary clinics. Today 85% of the Eritrean population drink’s clean water.
One of the those many modern farms that are presently at work is in Gash Barka region known as Gerset. Gash Barka is one of the six administrative region of Eritrea. Its size is 34,500 sq. Km. compromising 160,347 households. The livelihood of most of the population is based on farming and pastoral activities. Presently 250,000 hector of land is cultivated that produces 1.2 to 1.8 million ton of cereals. Vegetables and fruits are produced on 12,000 hector of land and 4,000 hector has been reserved for grazing animals.
There are 178 small and 17 large dams that hold ample amount of water for animal and farming Bash Barka. Gerset is the largest farming site in Gash Barka region that started growing different kind of fruits and vegetables 15 years ago. Most of the farmers were trained in nurseries locally and some studied horticulture at universities out of the country. The farm employs 2,000 of local people, in the pruning seasons and for harvest. Gerset tomatoes are one of Eritrea’s most successful export. Hoping to overtake as the world’s biggest tomato exporter.
1/3 of Eritrea’s crop, or about 1.2m tones, goes abroad as export. Out of these 1.2m tones total exported product 57% is exported to neighbouring countries. Eritrea’s entire farm sector, from cereals to meat production, is surging ahead. Last year agro-food imports were insignificant compared to earlier years that were worth 1 billion Nakfa, a 77.5% decrease compared to 1994. The agro-industry in Eritrea has a 31% increase 0n 2002.
Agriculture is probably the biggest single beneficiary of Eritrea’s membership of the many African economic community. Eritrea joined The Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), The Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA) and many other entities. Farmers were in for a happy surprise when money started rolling in: The industry received a bountiful of government assistance. Thanks to those interventions, farmers’ incomes have, on average, tripled with the money coming from sells. Bigger farmers have modernised and become more efficient. Over the past ten years Eritrea has doubled its poultry production and is becoming one of Africa’s leading producer of soft fruits.
In Eritrean the small farming community has favourable social-security system, as well as some of the tax advantages they enjoy. The government has a program called Integrated Family Farming where by the farm households get material support. The rural population makes up 95% of the total. The small farmers are building coalition. Eritrea farmers’ most immediate worry is about increasing output and to develop export markets.
Since independence in 1991, 70% of Eritreans have gained from the transformation Eritrea had made in social system, agriculture, education, health and infrastructure sectors. Whenever Eritrea was enjoying a peaceful, prosperous period, it soon seemed to come to a brutal end, often through invasion and foreign intervention.
Starting 1991 it has achieved unprecedented levels of income and quality of life until it was sadly interrupted in 1998 by Ethiopian subservient TPLF and its sponsors. Ever since then Eritrea had to struggle for its territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity that were subjected by western modern days slave master also known as neocolonialist, who seen Eritrea as a threat for its long term hegemonic interest and short term tactical political agendas.
Despite 30 years of military, political, diplomatic and economical harassment and sanctions; Eritrea is prospering once again and gaining the inevitable, rightful and important military, political and diplomacy role in East Africa and Gulf region
All long term projection shows that Eritrea will continue to grow faster. In an optimistic assessment of “Eritrea’s Golden Age” Economists predict that Eritrea’s GDP per person will grow by an average of 7.5% a year between 2021 and 2030. Optimist are keeping their fingers crossed that Eritrea’s rising incomes and quality of life will bring back some of the Eritrean diaspora.