Agriculture and farming in Ethiopia


Number of agricultural advertisements in Ethiopia:1 ads
Number of agricultural events in Ethiopia:0 events
Number of agricultural companies in Ethiopia:159 companies

Agriculture in Ethiopia

Agriculture in Ethiopia Located in East Africa, Ethiopia is found in the Horn of Africa.  It is completely landlocked, bordered by Sudan in the west, Somalia and Dijbouti in the east, Eritrea in the north and Kenya in the south.  The tenth largest country in Africa in size, Ethiopia is the second most populous country on the continent. Ethiopia is one of the world’s oldest countries, its territorial extent having varied over the millennia of its existence. Because Ethiopia is located in the tropical latitudes, its areas of lower elevation experience climatic conditions typical of tropical savanna or desert. The country has a diverse climate and landscape, ranging from equatorial rainforest with high rainfall and humidity in the south and southwest, to the Afro-Alpine on the summits of the Simien and Bale Mountains, to desert-like conditions in the north-east, east and south-east lowlands. Overall, Ethiopia is considered largely arid, but exhibits a high variability of precipitation Ethiopia’s climate is generally divided into three zones: 1) the alpine vegetated cool zones (Dega) with areas over 2,600 meters above sea level, where temperatures range from near freezing to 16°C; 2) the temperate Woina Dega zones, where much of the country’s population is concentrated, in areas between 1,500 and 2,500 meters above sea level where temperatures range between 16°C and 30°C; and 3) the hot Qola zone, which encompasses both tropical and arid regions and has temperatures ranging from 27°C to 50°C. In the main agricultural regions in Ethiopia there are two rainy seasons, the Meher and the Belg, and consequently there are two crop seasons. Meher is the main crop season. It encompasses crops harvested between Meskerem (September) and Yeaktit (February). Crops harvested between Megabit (March) and Nehase (August) are considered part of the Belg season crop.

Lithosols, Cambisols, Nitosols, Vertisols, Xerosols, Solonchaks, Fluvisols and Luvisols cover more than 80% of the country, and are the most important soils. Soil erosion is a serious problem in Ethiopia - particularly in the northern provinces.

Five agroecological regions can be distinguished in Ethiopia:
- moisture reliable cereal-based highlands,
- moisture reliable enset-based highlands,
- humid lowlands,
- drought prone highlands,
- pastoralist area.

The Central Statistical Agency (CSA) in Ethiopia classifies Ethiopian farms into two major groups: smallholder farms (<25.2ha) and large commercial farms (>25.2ha). The majority of farmers in country are smallholder farms, producing mostly for own consumption and generating only a small marketed surplus. Only 40 percent of the smallholders cultivate more than 0.90ha and these ‘medium-sized farms’ account for three-quarters of total area cultivated. Large farms (averaging 323 hectares per farm) are not widely spread in Ethiopia. Most smallholder farmers reside in the moisture reliable cereal-based highlands (i.e. 59 percent of total cultivated area). Farm area in the drought-prone highlands accounts for 26 percent of total area cultivated.

Ethiopia’s economy is dependent on agriculture, which accounts for 40 percent of the GDP, 80 percent of exports, and an estimated 75 percent of the country's workforce. However, just five percent of land is irrigated and crop yields from small farms are below regional averages.


Five major cereals (teff, wheat, maize, sorghum, and barley) occupy almost three-quarters of total area cultivated. Much of the increase in crop production in the past decade has been due to increases in area cultivated. Principal cereal crops cultivated in Ethiopia are:
Teff - (Eragrostis tef), sometimes spelled tef, annual cereal grass (family Poaceae), grown for its tiny nutritious seeds. Teff is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is a staple food crop to millions of people.The grain can be used to make flour or porridge or can be fermented and made into type of flatbread called injera, which is eaten widely in Ethiopia. Grain can also be used to brew alcoholic beverages or grown as a forage for livestock or for use in building construction. As the grain lacks gluten, it can be used to produce gluten-free specialty products for people with allergies to gluten. Teff consists of the largest area cultivated under all cereals, accounting for 29.5% of the total cultivated area and19.7% of total cereal production. This area allocated to teff production is indicative of the high price of teff which fetches more than double the price of wheat and many times more for other cereal crops. It is the national food preference, especially among the middle class, and provides for the growing export market. Maize: The area dedicated to maize production is the second largest, 20.8% of total cereal area with production accounting for 31.4% of total cereal output; nearly one third of cereal production in Ethiopia is maize.
Sorghum: This accounts for 18.5% area under cereals and 19.3% of total cereal output. The area under sorghum has grown at an annual rate of 1.71%, total production at 3.11%, and yield by 1.37% per annum. Wheat: Accounts for 16.6% of the area under cereal cultivation and 17.3% of total cereal production.

Pulses and oilseeds:Ethiopia has a rich heritage of pulses and oilseeds being one of the centres of origin of these crops. They represent the most important dietary composition of households, and are a major contributor to export earnings. Total pulse crop production (as of 2018) are:
Faba beans: Account for 29.8% of area and 33.2% of total pulse
Haricot beans: Account for 20.8% area and 18.8% of production
Chick pea: 16.5% of area and 18% of total production.
Grass pea: 9.7% of area and 10.3% of total pulse production output.
Lentils: 8.1% of area and 6.3% of total pulse production.
Below description regarding oilseeds production in 2018
Sesame: 39.4% of total area and 23.2% of the production of oilseeds. Neug (Niger seed): 31.1% of the total area dedicated to oilseeds and 29.3% of total production Groundnuts (peanuts): 8.6% of area and 13.2% of total oilseeds production.
Linseed (flax): 8.5% of area and 8.0% of production.
Fenugreek: 3.5% area and 4.0% of total output of oilseeds.
Rapeseed accounts for 1.9% of area and 3% of oilseed production.


Ethiopia is also the region’s largest producer and consumer of coffee. Coffee production in Ethiopia has grown steadily over the past three years and, with suitable growing conditions, is forecasted to reach to 7.62 million bags (457,200 MT) in 2021/22. 50-55% of Ethiopia’s production is consumed domestically. Coffee production in Ethiopia is a longstanding tradition which dates back dozens of centuries. Ethiopia is where Coffea arabica, the coffee plant, originates. Ethiopian coffee beans that are grown in either the Harar, Yirgacheffe or Limu regions are kept apart and marketed under their regional names. These regional varieties are trademarked names with the rights owned by Ethiopia. Sidama - coffee is well-balanced with cupping notes exhibiting berries and citrus with complex acidity. The coffee hails from the the Ethiopian highlands at elevations from 1,500 up to 2,200 meters above sea level. At these elevations the coffee beans can be qualified as “Strictly High Grown” (SHG). Here the Ethiopian coffees grow more slowly and therefore have more time to absorb nutrients and develop more robust flavors based on the local climate and soil conditions.

Genika - "Ethiopia Genika" - is a type of Arabica coffee of single origin grown exclusively in the Bench Maji Zone of Ethiopia. Like most African coffees, Ethiopia Guraferda features a small and greyish bean, yet is valued for its deep, spice and wine or chocolate-like taste and floral aroma. Harar - is in the Eastern highlands of Ethiopia. It is one of the oldest coffee beans still produced and is known for its distinctive fruity, wine flavour. The shells of the coffee bean are used in a tea called hasher-qahwa. The bean is medium in size with a greenish-yellowish colour. It has medium acidity and full body and a distinctive mocha flavour.

Vegetables and fruits

The main fresh fruit and vegetables produced are unspecified (or niche) vegetables, which may include okra, herbs, celery and a variety of local leafy vegetables (599,070 tonnes), bananas (508,013 tonnes), and cabbages and other brassicas (446,012 tonnes). Medium large production (compared to the overall Ethiopian production) includes garlic, mangoes, (chilli) peppers, avocados, papaya, tomato and onions/shallots. The largest fresh products in Ethiopian export are vegetables, including tomatoes and onions, potatoes, strawberries, plantains and banana. Most of these are exported to countries such as Somalia, Djibouti or in the case of strawberries, to Saudi Arabia and UAE. According to the USDA Ethiopia Fresh Fruits Market Update Report, sept 2018 avocado and banana have the most promising potential for production and exports. The production volume of avocados has quadrupled during the last five years. Banana is the most widely produced fruit crop with a production of close to 500,000 tonnes. Mango is also among the top produced fruit, and increased by 45% from 70,000 tonnes in 2013/14 to 105,000 tonnes in 2017/18.


Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa, with 65 million cattle, 40 million sheep, 51 million goats, 8 million camels and 49 million chickens in 2020 (Central Statistics Agency). Livestock is a major source of animal protein, power for crop cultivation, means of transportation, export commodities, manure for farmland and household energy, security in times of crop failure, and means of wealth accumulation. This sub-sector sector contributed up to 40% of agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP), nearly 20% of total GDP, and 20% of national foreign exchange earnings in 2017 (World Bank, 2017). Four livestock production systems can be broadly distinguished and include:
- pastoral and agro- pastoral,
- mixed crop-livestock,
- small-scale urban and peri-urban,
- large-scale commercial systems.

Mixed crop-livestock farming is dominant in the highlands and midlands, while pastoral and agro-pastoral systems dominate the lowlands. In the mixed crop-livestock system, livestock play a central role in the livelihoods of millions of farmers and serves multiple household-level needs. The Ethiopian livestock sector is even more traditional than the crop subsector. Within the crop growing area, 3.7 million households.


(29.16%) are without cattle holdings, while over 11 million households (92.7% of cattle owning households) own between 1 to 9 head of cattle. In regional distribution, the Oromia State has the largest number (4.7 million cattle), followed by the Amhara State (3.8 million) and the SNNP Regional State (2.8 million). Pastoral area accounts for 14% total cattle population, 19% sheep and 35% goats. This shows that 86% of cattle population is located in cereal producing areas with greater competition between crop and livestock over grazing and farm lands. About 99.4% of the cattle population consists of the local Zebu breeds. The predominant cattle breeds include the Borana, Fogera, Horro, Begait, Sheko, Abigar and Afar breeds. European breeds, especially Friesian and Jersey, have been imported for many years and crossbred with the indigenous breeds to improve milk production. Most of these types of animals are found in urban and peri-urban areas. About 25% of cattle aged between 3 and 10 years is used for draught purposes. Only a fraction of the cattle population (0.72%) is reared exclusively for meat production. Ethiopia is not known for its dairy product exports; however, some insignificant quantities of milk and butter are exported to a few countries. Butter is mainly exported to Djibouti and South Africa (targeting the Ethiopians in diaspora), while milk is solely exported to Somalia from the Southeastern Region of the country. Small quantities of cream are also exported to Djibouti from Dire Dawa.

Sheep and goats

Almost all of the sheep and goat breeds are indigenous. Sheep breeds include the Horro, Menz, Bonga, Arsi and Black-Head Ogaden, Bagait and Afar breeds. Some of the major goat breeds include Afar, long and short-eared Somali, Abergelle, Begait and Hararghe Highland goats.

Equine population

In terms of the equine population.
- Donkeys: Amhara State 1.878 million; Oromia 1.988 million; Tigray 521,928 and Gambela 496,226 account for 95.7% of the national donkey total.
- Horses: Tigray 2,983, Amhara 299,890 and Oromia 722,377.


In Ethiopia, the term “poultry” is almost synonymous with chicken as other poultry species such as guinea fowl, geese, turkeys, and ducks are not common in the country. Out of the total population of 57 million chickens, 95.9% are indigenous breeds in the hands of smallholder farmers. Only 2.8% and 1.4% of the chicken population are hybrids and exotic breeds, respectively (CSA, 2017). The number of chickens per rural household is small and ranges from 7-10. These chickens are kept under the traditional scavenging system with little inputs for housing, feeding or health care. Annual egg production from local hens under farmer management ranges from 53 to 60 eggs per hen.


Beekeeping is an integral part of the agricultural economy of Ethiopia. The dominant type of beekeeping is traditional forest and backyard (95.7%), followed by transitional beehives (1.3%) and frame/modern beehives (3.3%). Variations in agroecology and the presence of rich biodiversity favour the existence of diverse honeybee flora and large numbers of honeybee colonies in almost all regions of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is endowed with botanically diversified honey and honey forage plant species that supply ample food to honeybees. A bimodal type of rainfall creates favourable conditions for harvesting honey more than twice a year. There are five different types of honeybees dispersed across the country. The country has about 10 million bee colonies, 6.3 million beehives and over 800 bee forage plants. Ethiopia is fourth in the world in terms of beehive population, behind India, China and Turkey. It also stands ninth in the world and first in Africa in honey production and first in Africa and third in the world in beeswax production. The major importers of Ethiopian honey are Norway, Sudan, Djibouti and Germany. More than 16 mono-floral and various multi-floral honeys have been identified in Ethiopia. Coffee honey, Schefflera abyssinica (Geteme) honey, Syzygium guineese (Walleensu) honey, Croton Maroschus (Bakanisa) honey, Vernonia (Ebicha) honey, and Becuin glandiforum (Tebeb) honey are among the mono-floral honey types identified in Ethiopia.


Ethiopia’s forests cover about 14.7 per cent of the country’s land area, with woodland and shrubland accounting for another 44.7 per cent. Forests generated economic benefits in the form of cash and in-kind income. Lumber from the coniferous forests is important to the construction industry. The broadleaf evergreen forests furnish timber that is used in construction and in the production of plywood. The woodlands are a major source of firewood and charcoal. Certain trees --boswellia and species of commiphora—are of special economic significance. Both grow in the arid lowlands and produce gums that are the bases for frankincense and myrrh. A species of acacia found in several parts of the country is a source of gum arabic used in the manufacture of adhesives, pharmaceutical products, and confectionery. The eucalyptus, an exotic tree introduced in the late nineteenth century and grown mainly near urban areas, is a valuable source of telephone and telegraph poles, tool handles, furniture, and firewood. It is also a major source of the material from which fiberboard and particleboard are made.


Ethiopia has three principal drainage systems. The first and largest is the western drainage system, which includes the watersheds of the Blue Nile (known as the Abay in Ethiopia), the Tekeze, and the Baro rivers. All three rivers flow west to the White Nile in South Sudan and Sudan. The second is the Rift Valley internal drainage system, composed of the Awash River, the Lakes Region, and the Omo River. The Awash flows northeast to the Denakil Plain before it dissipates into a series of swamps and Lake Abe at the border with Djibouti. The Lakes Region is a self-contained drainage basin, and the Omo flows south into Lake Turkana (Rudolf), on the border with Kenya. The third system is that of the Shebele and Genale rivers. Both of these rivers originate in the Eastern Highlands and flow southeast toward Somalia and the Indian Ocean. Only the Genale (known as the Jubba in Somalia) makes it to the sea; the Shebele (in Somali, Shabeelle) disappears in sand just inside the coastline.

The fishery is predominantly artisanal, involving around 18 000 fishers. Motorized fishery is typical for lake Tana. Primitive locally produced wooden boats are common in lakes Koka, Ziway, Langano and Awassa. Beach seines are used on lakes Koka, Ziway and Langano. The use of gillnets and hook gear is widespread in the country's waterbodies Fish and fish products are valuable sources of protein and essential micronutrients for balanced nutrition, health and income. In Ethiopia, over 200 fish species representing 12 orders, 29 families and 70 genera have been identified. The most important species, which constitute large proportions of commercial catches, include Tilapia, African catfish, Nile perch, Bagrus species, Barbus species and the common carp. The catch data from major water bodies indicate a fivefold increase in the last decade and report 51,000 tons of fish production in 2015/2016.

Agricultural advertisements in Ethiopia, buy and sell classified ads


82000.0 USD

Agricultural companies in Ethiopia

Mintewab Baltina

Shola Gebeya, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Familygroup Plc

Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia

HALAL FOOD Industries plc (Export Slaughter house)

Dabi Complex, Bole road

Hana import &export

Addis Ababa Ethiopia




23128Bertatebaber Building, 4th floor

Sheep And Camel Supplier

H.G. Road, Region 14

Yohannes Taweke

Addis Ababa,ethiopia

Download our new
Husfarm App

Stay up to date with the current prieces of agricultural products all over the world.