Bereket Gebru 04-19-17
The first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I) was known for its audacity as it set very ambitious goals to quickly transform the state of sectors of the economy. Instead of a slow progression in the form of reform or any other sort of approach, it adopted the rapid change model through transformation. Therefore, the goals set by the plan seemed to hang in the air as they were perceived as being too high to achieve.
As it turned out, however, the first GTP I period proved to be so vital in registering very notable achievements that stood in stark comparison with the performances of the previous five years. The state of agricultural and industrial production grew tremendously in the five years period. The social sectors also benefitted a lot from increased investment as education was mainstreamed to all Ethiopian kids and health services penetrated to the lowest level of local government. The energy sector also grew in folds as numerous renewable and non-renewable energy projects materialized during that period.
Especially agricultural production was notably beefed up as the sector became source of growth and poverty reduction. A report on GTP I states: “Agricultural value added registered an annual average growth rate of 6.6% during the first four years of GTP period. This is lower than the average growth target for the GTP period. This growth performance would not be far from the target pending the estimate forthcoming for the final year of the GTP (2014/15).”
The crop subsector which, on average, accounted for about 30 percent of GDP has been the major contributor to the growth of the agriculture value added during the period of the GTP. The value added of the crop subsector increased by 7.5 percent during the first four years of the GTP period. Within the crop subsector, major food crops have been the major drivers of growth in the agriculture sector. The value added of the livestock subsector increased at an annual average rate of 5 percent during the first four years of the GTP. This is the subsector in which the growth registered has fallen short of the potential. During the GTP period major activities have been carried out in water-shade management, soil and water. Ethiopia’s Green Economy Strategy has inspired and mobilized the nation.
The achievements in GTP I helped the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The country’s economy also grew considerably gearing things up in the right way for a further push in GTP II.
The general objective of the agricultural sector in the second growth and Transformation Plan is to benefit the people at all levels from the fast and sustained growth, to realize the transformation of the sector and overall economy and enhance the contribution of the sector to the overall economy and build production capacity so that the sector plays a key role in stabilizing the macro economy of the country.
These objectives will be ensured through increasing productivity of the sector. The major strategies used to increase productivity in the sector include delivering effective extension services, supplying agricultural inputs and conducting famers’ training. There is a strong determination to ensure structural transformation within the sector and build agricultural production capacity. Accordingly, GTP II sets out to achieve an annual agricultural growth rate of 8%.
The crop subsector is projected to continue constituting the major share of agricultural GDP. Accordingly, doubling the production and productivity of major crops has been set as a goal by GTP II. During the first four years of GTP I, the productivity of major food crops (Cereals, Pulses, and Oil seeds) reached an annual average level of 17.6 quintal per hectare. As a result, the production of these crops increased from 180 million quintals in 2009/10 to 274 million quintals in 2013/14. When this performance is compared with the target set for 2014/15, which was set at 267.74 million quintals, it shows that the target was achieved one year ahead of the time line.
However, GTP II aims to take that figure to about 550 million quintals at the end of the plan period. The achievement of this goal is expected to push up the basic goal of 8% growth up to 11%. The production of the major crops set to contribute strongly to the realization of this goal is expected to grow at an annual rate of 16%.
The crop subsector, on average, accounted for about 30 percent of GDP and was the major contributor to the growth of the agriculture value added during the period of GTP I. Under GTP II, major crops are expected to account for 40% of the total agriculture value added. That is expected to push the total economic growth of the country under the maximum growth option to 12.2%. Even under such circumstances, agriculture is set to be the main source of economic growth.
Towards realizing these goals, the government has been working hard to modernize the traditional farming techniques used by farmers throughout the country. There have been some notable achievements in that regard though there is a long way to go before these changes are mainstreamed and the farming techniques are modernized. Various researches have also indicated that the absence of modern farming techniques is one of the main reasons behind the vulnerability of Ethiopian farmers to drought.
Considering the productivity of the livestock sector was low during GTP I, special emphasis has been given to the livestock subsector with the objective of adequately exploiting its potential for growth, export earnings and job creation in GTP II. The strategies set to realize these objectives are: improving animal health, animal feed and animal breed with targets to increase the productivity of meat, milk, honey and egg.
During the first Growth and Transformation plan, remarkable achievements have been made in terms of natural resource conservation and utilization. Hence, scaling-up this strategy to all parts of the country and maintaining the momentum during the second Growth and Transformation Plan period will be a priority. In this regard, expanding small-scale irrigation in tandem with natural resource conservation to increase agricultural productivity and production would help enhance the economic contribution of natural resources.
As shown above, the ambitious agricultural goals set by GTP I have been replaced with more ambitious goals for the sector in GTP II. Achievement of these goals is vital in taking the country closer to its goal of becoming a middle income country by 2025. However, the twenty months since the start of the GTP II period have been marred with natural disasters and manmade challenges. The El-Nino and La-Nina induced drought and flood put a major strain on Ethiopian agriculture in the last couple of years. The unrest in some parts of the country also had negative impacts on agricultural investment. Therefore, we need to make up for these drawbacks with a reinvigorated march in the coming three years.