In Ethiopia, Head of State Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam recently made a tour of the Bale and Arsi rural regions, where he addressed mass rallies and met farmers who belong to peasant associations.
In Ethiopia, Head of State Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam recently made a tour of the Bale and Arsi rural regions, where he addressed mass rallies and met farmers who belong to peasant associations. He spoke about the progress of the land reform programme and the expansion and development of state farms.
SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu received an enthusiastic welcome during his three days touring the Arsi region. The Ethiopian government is attempting to involve people throughout the country in the "Let's Produce" campaign, which aims to boost industry and agriculture. Colonel Mengistu's message to the people was that the country's primary aim is reconstruction and the building of a stable economy. Peasant associations have been operating throughout the country to put the government's revolutionary policies into practice.
Colonel Mengistu met farmers in the Arsi area to discuss this years's agricultural production. At the beginning of 1979 only three percent of land with a potential for cultivation was actually being put to use. The government has been distributing large quantities of grain seed and fertiliser to improve production. Villagers chanted revolutionary slogans while Colonel Mengistu met officials.
A spokesman for the farmers outlined current production targets. Recently, the country's resources have been depleted by persistent drought and wars in the Ogaden Desert and against Eritrean secessionist guerrillas in the north. Irrigation schemes are one of the main aims of the development campaign now underway. As it stands, half of Ethiopia's farms are producing at a subsistence level.
Part of the land reform programme has been the setting up of peasant organisations to administer the building of schools, clinics, roads and bridges as well as seeing that land is worked to its full potential.
Colonel Mengistu inspected the livestock at this state-run farm. He held meetings with members of the peasant associations to discuss forestry and wildlife conservation and how to involve more people in the "Let's produce" campaign. More than forty percent of cash crops, coffee and oil-seeds are produced on government-controlled farms.