AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING (MECHANIZATION) RESEARCH

Ethiopian economy is dominated by agriculture contributing 42.7% to the GDP and a significant contributor to reducing poverty. Despite the huge contribution of the sector to the country's economy, the system is predominantly of subsistence, characterized by the use of traditional farming implements and practices. The entire field operations at small scale agriculture, where about 83% of the population is involved, are carried out using hand-tools and thousands of years old tillage implements with human and animal power which mainly include oxen plow farming system particularly in open cereal dominating production system. Similarly, farm operations in crop production, animal husbandry and forestry by large are performed with bare hands or using very rudimentary farm tools. To meet the food demand of the ever-increasing population and finance the other sectors of the economy, it is imperative to increase production and productivity. This could be attained by the introduction of a wise mix of bio-chemical, socioeconomic and physical science based technologies to the agricultural production system.

 

Agricultural mechanization technologies enable the bio-chemical inputs to perform to their optimum potential through creating conducive environment. They also reduce time of field operation, improve working conditions and the performance of jobs that would otherwise be difficult to accomplish in the traditional way. It was with the objective of developing and introducing efficient and socioeconomically compatible agricultural mechanization technologies to Ethiopian farmers that the Department of Agricultural Engineering Research came to existence under the then Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) since 1977. Back then, the department comprises Farm Power and Machinery, Soil and Water Engineering, Energy, Home Science and Food Technology sections. Later on, the Soil and Water Engineering Division was amalgamated to the Soil and Water Management Program, the Food Science section was dissociated from the department; the Energy Program was deemphasized. The only remaining engineering division was the Farm Power and Machinery section. This division was strengthened as the result of the signing of a project document, between the Ethiopian government and UNDP to establish an Agricultural Implements Research and Improvement Center (AIRIC) in July 1984. In 2008, the program was upgraded to directorate level without comportment of research program. Again, in 2016, it was reorganized as Agricultural Engineering Directorate having two programs under it and with two more stations/branches at Mehoni and Fogera.

 

VISION

Resilient, competent, eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural engineering system responsive to changing situations.

 

MISSION

Availing efficient, effective and environmentally sound agricultural mechanization technologies for the major agricultural production zones of the country.

 

GOAL

To help increase and improve production, productivity and quality of food, industrial and export agricultural commodities contributing to improved livelihood of the people through the development and deployment of a sound mechanization system.

 

OBJECTIVES

§  To provide efficient, effective and eco-friendly land preparation, crop establishment, harvesting, product handling, storage and processing agricultural mechanization technologies toenhance sustainable production and achieve food security and earn foreign exchange.

§  To build up research capacity to adapt, generate and promote improved agricultural mechanization technologies for sustainable production for the major agro ecology zones of the country.

§  To train users and manufacturers to accelerate the multiplication of proven mechanization technologies to be used by farmers.

 

MAJOR OUTPUTS

Since the inception of the research program, different pre- and post-harvest technologies were developed and popularized. Some of them are listed below.

 

No.

Pre-harvest technology

Harvest technology

Post-harvest technology

Farm goods transport technology

1

Mouldboard plow

Papaya harvester

Maize sheller

Donkey cart

2

Winged plow

Potato digger

Groundnut sheller

Donkey and horse harness

3

Tie ridger

-

Tomato seed extractor

Single animal harness

4

Ripper

-

Cotton seed extractor

-

5

Wheat seeder

-

Multicrop thresher

-

6

Teff seeder

-

Cassava slicer

-

7

Maize planter

-

Enset decorticator

-

8

Broad bed maker

-

Milk churner

-

9

Lime applicator

-

Seed dresser

-

10

-

-

Feed chopper

-

11

-

-

Feed mixer

-

12

-

-

Grain storage device

-

 

Besides technology development, there were lots of surveys, training provisions to end-users, testing and evaluation works of introduced technologies, promotion and multiplication of tested machineries conducted and documented.

 

In addition to that, during the last three years, the program has released over seventeen new prototypes which ranges from crops establishment technologies to food/feed processing equipment. Over 6,500 farmers, DAs, experts and small enterprise owners dwelling in 26 weredas of the country were provided trainings on use and handling as well as manufacturing aspects of farm machineries. 1565 technologies were produced and dispatched to farmers. Eight proven technologies, which were brought from abroad, were demonstrated at different parts of the country.

 

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS AND FOCUS

Currently, the Directorate is working on ten government projects (with a total of 36 activities) and five externally funded projects (with 15 activities) under two programs (i.e., Field machinery research program and post-harvest handling and processing program). Since it is a national program, the projects are conducted in different parts of the country. In the current fiscal year, it plans to release seven prototypes and eleven pieces information.

 

Current agricultural engineering research projects

No.

Project Title

1

Increased production of rice crop through the introduction of pre and postharvest agricultural engineering technologies.

2

Introduction of pre and postharvest technologies for increased production of citrus, mango, avocado, banana and tomato crops.

3

Development of farm power implements selection system for different farm size ranges under different agro-ecologies.

4

Development of fish pre and postharvest engineering technologies

5

Participatory evaluation and promotion of pre- and post-harvest agricultural mechanization technologies for small-scale farmers

6

Enhancing teff, barley and wheat crops productivity in some selected areas of ethiopiathrough mechanical powered pre-harvest technologies.

7

Test protocol adaptation and development for agricultural mechanization technologies

8

Adaptation, improvement and promotion of small scale tractor powered mechanization technologies for root and tuber crops.

9

Enhancing teff, barley and wheat crops productivity in some selected areas of ethiopiathrough mechanical powered post-harvest technologies

10

Development, evaluation and adaptation of dairy production technologies

11

Appropriate mechanization for sustainable intensification of small holder farming in Ethiopia (AMSI)/

12

Some business incubation for Agricultural Mechanization Service (AGPII-BIAMS)

13

Adaptation and demonstration of cereal (tef, wheat and barley) seed drills for small scale farmers (GPII ADCs)/

14

Demonstration and promotion of agricultural mechanization technologies (AGPII DAMET)/

15

Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for sustainable intensification (FACASI)

 

PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATIONS

National Partners

§  Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) and its federal and regional offices

§  Regional research centers

§  Farmers

§  Farmers organizations

§  Private sector equipment and service providers

§  Dealers and manufacturers

§  Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED)

§  Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST)

§  Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA)

§  Universities

§  NGOs

 

International Partners

International partners, collaborators and donors are:

·         CGIAR centers

·         Universities and agricultural research centers

·         Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

·         Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG-2000)

 

Future Focus

Enabling the directorate to avail efficient and effective environmentally friendly, affordable and suitable agricultural engineering technologies and information to end-users.

 

CONTACT ADDRESS

Fitsum Abebe (MSc)

Program Coordinator, Agricultural Engineering Research Program, MARC

Mob.: +25191 113 2822

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.