The tef laboratory office complex which is the first of its kind in the country, was inaugurated on the 8th of October 2020 and officially declared open by H.E Ato Oumar Hussen the Minster of the Ministry of Agriculture in the presence of the CEO of Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency Ato Khalid Bomba and other higher Government officials.
The laboratory office complex is fully funded by the ATA with financial support from The Embassy of Denmark and The Embassy of The Netherlands. The laboratory complex cost 39,420,675.28 million ETB and took three years to complete.
Tef (Eragrostis tef) is the most important cereal of Ethiopia. The crop is annually grown on over 3 million hectares of land, accounting for about one-third of the total cereal acreage and about one-fifth of the gross cereal grain production in the country. It is grown by about 6.77million smallholder farmers. Tef offers numerous advantages over the other cereals grown in the country with respect to both husbandry and utilization of both the grains and the straw. The crop grows under wider range of ecological conditions from sea level up to 3000 meters above sea level and performs better than the other cereals under adverse and marginal conditions.
Despite its importance, the productivity of tef is extremely low compared to other cereals due mainly to the widespread use of landraces lacking desirable agronomic traits coupled with traditional husbandry practices. It is also produced under rain-fed conditions which render it vulnerable to rainfall scarcity and variability due to climate change.
Therefore, this laboratory is built with the aim of enhancing the national tef research capacity in terms of shortening the breeding and variety releasing time by making the use of the laboratory when it is fully equipped with the necessary facilities.
The laboratory is transferred to the long-term owner the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural research (EIAR) based on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was jointly developed and signed between ATA and EIAR.
From this laboratory, it is estimated that more than six million smallholder tef farmers’ households will benefit. Moreover, the emerging commercial farmers, traders, processers, exporters, and the country at large are also expected to benefit from the project.
In the future the Debre Zeit National tef research center is expected to generate new and innovative technologies to resolve the major tef production constraints of the smallholder farmers.