Tef, a tiny grain the size of a poppy seed, is one of the most important staple foods in Ethiopia, accounting for 30 percent of the country's total crop area. Tef is still cultivated in the same way it has been for thousands of years. Most of the 6.3 million smallholder farmers in Ethiopia that grow tef do so without any mechanized tools. Not only is their work back-breaking, but they are limited in the size of their crop and how much they can earn from its sale.
In partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanization Sciences, we are investing in the development of small-to medium-scale machinery that can help family farmers of tef, particularly women, with land preparation and with planting, harvesting, threshing, and cleaning the grain.
The project will develop, test and demonstrate the machinery, train framers and others how to use it, and work with local organizations to explore ways to commercialize it.