By Tesfa-alem Tekle
August 10,2008(ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia imports a first round 212,000 quintals (21,200 tonnes) of wheat in an effort to tackle price hikes that is affecting millions of Ethiopians. The Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise said.
The distribution of the 1.5 million quintals of wheat imported to stabilize the market will begin next week in 12 major towns of the nation which then will further be distribute to district levels.
The wheat was purchased from Europe, Canada and USA, Enterprise General Manager Berhane Hailu said adding that the second round imported wheat would arrive in ten days.
The imported wheat will cover 40 percent of the nation’s annual wheat demand. It was learnt
The wheat will be sold with no limits to individuals, factories that use wheat as input, cooperatives and traders and government retailing centers, according to the general manager.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second populous nation with 80 million people currently is facing major food crises and high grain prices.
The imported wheat will be sold for 350 birr (37 dollars) a 100 kilogram sack which offers a 40 percent subsidy
A U.S.-funded early warning system, FEWSNET, recently has said that up to nine million Ethiopians may need food assistance in 2008 due to drought.
The government of Ethiopia has been distributing 180,000 quintals of wheat from its reserves until the imported wheat arrives.