09 December 2018, Ginir – H.E Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, visited Durum Wheat Cluster in Arda Kebso Kebele in Ginir woreda, Bale zone of the Oromia region. The wheat cluster is one of the Agricultural Commercialization Cluster (ACC) woredas ATA works on along with its partners to increase production and productivity.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, the Oromia Regional State President Lemma Mgersa, the Minister of Agriculture Omar Hussien, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, CEO of ATA Khalid Bomba, and regional agricultural office representatives among others.

“It is often said agriculture is the backbone of Ethiopia. Our country is known for its rich resources that are still underutilized, and this region is no exception. But works like this is an indicator that Bale region has the capacity to feed the entire nation on its own” the Prime Minister appreciated the works being done.  “Farmers of this area need to stand together as one and help strengthen the country and contribute your share just as your fathers and forefathers have done so previously,” he added.

On the occasion, the farmers voiced their concern to the premier.  “Despite the challenges we face in poor supply of inputs and reliable market linkages, we are expecting to harvest nearly 8 tons of wheat per hectare,” a farmer said.  This yield surpasses the national average of fewer than 3 tons per hectare. “We call on your government to create the necessary linkage in input supply, market, and road network,” the farmer asked the delegation.

Having appreciated the works that have been done so far, the Premier tasked the ATA to further work on creating formal market linkage between clusters and large millers, institutional buyers and government organizations importing wheat.  Khalid Bomba, CEO of ATA, gladly accepted the task and promised to speedily act on it and report.  “My team and I will work hand in hand with all stakeholders to stand to the additional task assigned to us.  As always, we’ll deliver professionally and timely,” Khalid noted.

Toni Blair, on his part, appreciated the surplus production.  “Congratulations! This is impressive.  What I’m seeing here today is a perfect example that Ethiopia is working hard to become a developed country.” Mr. Blair went on to say that he promised to do everything in his power to make this vision a reality. He also assured both the farmers and the delegation that he will share his experience with the rest of the world.

It is to be recalled that ATA championed the cluster approach in coordination with all concerned.  The Durum Wheat Cluster in Arda Kebso Kebele in Ginir woreda, Bale zone of the Oromia is one of the clusters ATA assists in its endeavor to be more productive.  The area lies on more than 2,300 Hectares of land and is organized in over 133 clusters.