ADDIS ABABA, Oct 18 (NNN-ERTA) -- Ethiopian Agriculture Minister Tefera Deribew has voiced optimism that a significant volume of teff, a species of lovegrass native to the northern Ethiopian Highlands, can be harvested this season as new teff varieties have helped double production in Amhara Region.
A field day aimed at visiting agricultural activities that have been carried out during the rainy season has been observed and it was found that out of the total land area to be covered by crops, some 2.6 million hectares had been prepared for growing teff.
In order to double production of teff, new and productive teff species have been widely distributed among farmers in various regions.
Teff, also knows as Xaafli, which has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in dietary fibre and iron and providing protein and calcium, is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller and cooks faster, thus using less fuel.
In order to learn about the distribution of the new teff varities, the Ministry of Agriculture organized a field day in North Gondar Zone of Amahra region where samples of new teff species introduced by researchers to Chilga district have been evaluated by a crew of visitors from the Ministry.
The Ministry says the country’s average teff production per hectare has now reached 15 quintals (1.5 tonnes) and the new verities being introduced would maximize the production to 50 quintals (five tonnes) per hectare.
Tefera quoted the farmers as saying that the new verities had proved effective in doubling teff production.
About 8,000 hectares of land in Chiga district of North Gonder Zone can be used for teff cultivation and so far 1,000 hectares have been planted with teff. It is estimated that during this harvest season, 40 quintals of teff would be collected per hectare in the district.
The Ministry envisages introducing the new teff verities being grown in Chilga district to all regions in the 2005-2006 Ethiopian Calendar crop season. -- NNN-ERTA