Every once in a while, I get to see something cool at work. Today, I got to see the first demonstration of a teff combine harvester in Ethiopia. Keep reading, this is actually kind of a BFD.
Teff is indigenous to Ethiopia. In fact, it’s the national crop of Ethiopia. Most people know it as the principal ingredient in injera, the spongy bread that frequently accompanies Ethiopian food. Teff is harvested by hand. The process very much resembles cutting grass with a kitchen knife. In rural Ethiopia, it takes about 10 men 12 hours to harvest a single hectare. After the harvest, the farmers collect the grains and place them on a hard dirt surface for oxen to trample (and eat, pee on, etc…), which separates or “threshes” the grain from the straw. The John Deere combine can harvest and thresh the same amount of teff in less than 30 minutes with very little post-harvest loss.
It was cool to see the technology demonstrated to farmers that have been doing it the old fashioned way their entire lives. The translated headlines in the local newspaper read, “Teff gets Civilized.”
More photos from my field trip: