Commercial estates, haricot beans, poultry birds, donkeys, skins
Agriculture by traditional methods, including the raising of livestock, is the most characteristic form of Ethiopian economic activity. Commercial estates, which are run by the government, supply coffee, cotton, sugar, fruit, and vegetables to the nationís processing industries and for export. Pulses (chickpeas, lentils, haricot beans) and oilseeds are also grown on a commercial scale. The most important food crops grown primarily for local consumption are cereal grains. Periodic droughts have greatly reduced agricultural output and forced Ethiopia to import basic foodstuffs.
Despite a government program of diversification, coffee remains Ethiopiaís most important commodity. About one-fourth of the population is engaged in its production.
In 2001 the livestock population included 34.5 million cattle, 20 million sheep, 16 million goats, 56 million poultry birds, and smaller numbers of horses, mules, donkeys, and camels. About one-third of the cattle are oxen used for heavy labor. Sheep and goats are raised primarily for skins and meat.
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