The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) of Eritrea showcased its strides in agricultural innovation during the annual activity assessment meeting held in Halhale this week. The event drew attention not only to the country’s achievements but also underscored the broader significance of sustainable agricultural practices for the entire African continent.
Eritrea, situated in the Horn of Africa, is widely considered to be a potential beacon of agricultural success. Arefaine Berhe, Minister of Agriculture, and Habteab Tesfatsion, governor of the southern region, spearheaded the high-profile meeting. The gathering brought together heads of the ministry of agriculture, southern region authorities, agricultural experts, and researchers from across Eritrea.
In his address, Tsegay Berhane, the head of the research institute, highlighted key accomplishments in 2023 that resonate beyond Eritrea’s borders. Notable achievements included the development of advanced wheat seeds optimised for bread and pasta production, successful cross-breeding of corn seeds, and a pioneering cassava initiative.
These endeavours signal Eritrea’s commitment to enhancing agricultural productivity, contributing to the continent’s overall food security.
The cross-breeding of dairy cows and the concurrent development of green fodder emerged as a significant breakthrough. This strategic move is anticipated to positively impact dairy production, aligning with the broader African goal of improving livestock systems.
The genetic resources research branch’s renovation of 35 field pea samples and 75 common bean samples, along with the collection of four types of tree samples, reflects Eritrea’s dedication to preserving its rich biodiversity. The research covered a spectrum of crops crucial to the sustenance and economic prosperity of the region and, by extension, the continent.
A major focus of the meeting was on nationwide efforts in soil and water conservation, showcasing Eritrea’s commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. Tsegay emphasised the institute’s dedication to environmental stewardship and its role in fortifying agricultural infrastructure across the country.
Discussions among participants yielded various recommendations that underscored the importance of collaborative efforts in advancing agricultural research and development throughout Africa.
Berhane, recognising the interconnectedness of African nations in achieving food security, stressed the fundamental role of agricultural research in fostering sustainable development. He emphasized the need for pan-African initiatives focusing on soil and water conservation to boost agricultural production continent-wide.
The minister further called for the adoption of modern farming techniques, including irrigation farming, and highlighted the importance of organic fertiliser, animal fodder development, and urban agriculture. The promotion of nutritious food, in line with global health and sustainability trends, emerged as a crucial aspect of Eritrea’s commitment to contributing to the wider African agricultural landscape.