Mechanization Research in Ethiopia
South-South Knowledge Sharing on
Prepared by Bisrat Getnet,
Agricultural Engineering Research Directorate in EIAR
Workshop organized jointly by IFPRI, CIMMYT, and
the Ethiopian Agricultural Mechanization Forum
Hilton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
October 31– November 1, 2017
I Background of Agricultural Engineering/Mechanization
II Establishment of Agricultural Mechanization Research
III Agricultural Engineering /Mechanization Research in Ethiopia
IV The Way Forward
We are very
n? or we love
to live in this
Overview of Agricultural Mechanization
What is mechanization?
Application of tools ,implements and
▪ Human, animal and mechanical power
Meaning of Mechanization
Purpose of Mechanization
Saving cost in labor shortage
Farm mechanization is based on total agricultural system, which is deeply
connected to socio-economic environment of each country. So farm
mechanization problem should be discussed from the point of view of, not
only farm mechanization itself, but also socio-economic background.
Effect of Mechanization
Stabilizing farm system by timeliness
Improvement of farm work by high efficiency of machine
Increase yield by working precisely
Make multi-crop system feasible for farm management etc.
Improvement of health by release from heavy work and improvement of
Release from gender gap by saving time spent to farm work of woman
Level up rural development by spreading of engineering knowledge
Farm production as a function of draught
power in the Ethiopian CRV
Could Farm Power be as Limiting as (or more limiting than) Seeds, Water & Nutrients?
Cotton yield as a function of
Overview current status
• 12231 tractors (ECA,2014),
• >90% is animal and hand tool
• 13 million oxen ,13.3 million
• 0.28 hp/ha (DAP), 0.061 (tractor)
, 0.341hp/ha (Total)
• Japan (7hp/ha), South Korea
(4hp/ha), Nigeria (0.7) (Lamidi
and Akande,2013). Minimum
requirement is 0.5 hp/ha
USA JAPAN GERMANY UK FRANCECHINA
Tractor in use per thousand rural population
Overview current status
Dominated by smallholder farmers.
Farm power relies to an overwhelming extent on
human muscle and animal.
Approximately only 0.061 horsepower per hectare.
1% <0.5 Ha
Overview current status
Overview current status
Farming operation services
Farming equipment repair
Agro-machines sales center
Repair parts services shop
Tractor & farm vehicle driver and skilled repairman
As one of the disciplines, Institute of Agricultural
Research (IAR) established the department of
Agricultural Engineering comprising of farm
power and machinery, soil and water
engineering, energy, home science and food
technology in 1976.
The only remaining engineering division has
been the Farm Power and Machinery section,
which was then named Farm Implement
Division. This division was then strengthened as
a result of the signing of a project document
between the Ethiopian government and UNDP to
establish an Agricultural Implement and
Research Center (AIRIC) in July 1984 and began
to carry out development and testing of farm
tools and equipment appropriate for agricultural
conditions in Ethiopia farmers condition.
Timeline of Ag. Eng. Research Program at
• 1976:started as a project worked as a section in the
Department of Agricultural Engineering Continued as
small farm implements till FAO project as of 1984.
•1984 -2000: Development of hand tools, animal drawn
equipment, small engine driven equipment and testing of all sorts.
•Tested different types of Agricultural Implements locally
produced and imported (Bulgarian machineries) from abroad.
•2000: re-established as Agricultural Mechanization
•2016: again re-established as Agricultural Engineering
Research with three programs.
Timeline of Ag. Eng. Research at Regional
• 1968: in Oromia ,Bako started as a technical school others(Jimma,
Assela & Fedis) were Rural Technology Promotion centers, doing
mainly demonstration and multiplication of agricultural implements
• 1994, the rural technology centers were transformed in to
Mechanization research centers.
• 1985: The Amhara Regional State Agricultural Mechanization and
Food Science Research Center started as Bahir Dar Rural Technology
promotion Center with the responsibility of multiplying and
popularizing agricultural implements
• 1996: reorganized as a mechanization research, technology
multiplication, production and maintenance center
• Currently, it has been transferred to the Metal and Engineering
Corporation (Amhara METEC).
• 1967:attempts were made to establish implements research center
at Mekele by FAO.
• 1995: Mekele Rural Technology Center was established.
• 2004: reorganized as an agricultural mechanization research center.
Currently what research does
engineering/research on pre-harvest,
harvest and post-harvest technologies.
Fabrication of prototypes and pre-
scaling up of technologies and
Provide training on use, operation and
handling of the technologies.
Provide training on technology
Provide consultation on agricultural
engineering/ mechanization/ research.
Provide testing and evaluation of
technologies either imported or
The beginning years
→ The Enset and pump research works, which started in the late 1970s.
→ Testing procedures for different agricultural equipment were developed
and put to use.
→ Besides basic crop physical parameters (Dereje Adugna 1987), methods
and equipment for measuring the degree of soil aggregation through the
tilth depth were availed during this period (Friew and Dereje 1989).
→ Basic design data for the moldboard board plough were
generated using the profilograph technique, which was the
basis for the design and manufacturing of the moldboard part
of the present animal drawn soil turning and inverting plough.
→ The shape of the moldboard part of the moldboard plough
was generated using the profiliograph technique, which later
helped generate the shape from a cylinder of 60cm diameter
rolled from 3mm sheet metal. Nazareth plough, with a less
draft power requirement and ease of operation based on the
surface configuration of Nardi and Danish ploughs (AIRIC
test report II 1988).
The years 1990-1995
→ A hand metered row planter, manual maize sheller,
→ a safe tomato transporting box, harnessing system
→ Groundnut lifter, improved sickles and
→ Groundnut decorticator were developed
→ Modification on donkey cart especially on the wheel
axle assembly and raised bed were done during this
→ The wheat and Barley thresher was modified to
accommodate maize shelling (Friew et al 1994) and
→ Manual maize sheller was also delivered during the
same period (Zelalem, 1994).
→ Information on available animate power was
generated. Accordingly, anthropometry
→ information on the Ethiopian agricultural work force
was generated (AIRIC Progress Report 1990, 1991)
→ In the early and mid-1990s, more works continued on land
preparation implements. At this time the tie ridger was availed,
more work was done on threshers ( AIRIC progress Reports 1990,
The years 1990-1995
→ Information on the draft capacity of local oxen and cross
bred animals was availed.
→ The average working speed of Ethiopian oxen was
recorded as 0.4 to 0.5 m.s-1 while 1.1 m.s-1 is a commonly
reported speed for draft oxen. Under the conditions of the
study the local draft oxen performed best at a pull level of
15% of their body weight contrary to reports of 10%
elsewhere (Adugna Kebede et.al, 1990).
→ Studies on transport capacity of donkey carts (Adugna
Kebede and Demeke Bekele 1990).
→ Low draft implements and single animal harness was
developed for single animal. Recorded results show that v-
yoke was found to be better than the neck-yoke as a single
animal harness (Adugna Kebede et.al, 1990).
The years 1995- 2000
→ A set of pre-harvest implements like, winged
plough, tie ridger row planter and inter row weeder
were developed and studies on small horse power
tractors were conducted during this period (Melese
Temesgen, 1995,Melese Temsgen and Mengistu
Geza, 1999, Muluken Tilahun and Mengistu Geza,
→ Studies on the improved planter and weeder
showed a remarkable yield advantage over the
→ During this period a Mofer attached plough, a single
row maize and a four row small cereal planter were
also developed and tested at Assasa and favorable
response was received from farmers.
→ The single ox field capacity was 32 hr.ha-1 and 21
hr.ha-1 for primary and secondary tillage
→ The planter draft requirement was 87.9 kgf and its
field capacity was 10 hr.ha-1 and the depth of
operation was adjustable between 4-7 cm
(Agricultural Mechanization Progress Report, 1996)
MBP- Development attempts in six decades
The years 2001-2005
→ Works on grain storage, reengineering work on the
Assela and IITA threshers (Seyoum et al 2008) were
→ during this period.
→ A pedal driven maize sheller, cotton planter, milk churner
(Minwyelet Nigatu, 2008) and honey extractor were
→ The work on Enset processing devices was restarted.
→ Studies on draft capacity of camels,feed choppers, onion
storage (Laike Kebede and Shimeles Aklilu, 2008)
tomato seed extractor, papaya harvester, groundnut
decorticator (Laike Kebede, 2008) and trials on using
harvesters for tef were conducted and pertinent
information and technologies were also generated
(National Agricultural Mechanization Research Progress
Report ,2002). Besides, more work on land preparation
implements and conservation tillage works on Maize and
land suitability studies for maize production (Friew
Kelemu and Girma Mamo 2002)
The years 2001-2005 (continued)
→ Works on donkey utilization as a power source were conducted during this period
(Fisseha et al 2004).
→ The tomato seed extractor was able to pulp 12 kg of tomato and extract seed in a
minute (Friew Kelemu and Amdom G/Medhin, 2008).
→ The papaya harvester was able to detach papaya from a height of 3 meters in 2
sec without imparting any mechanical damage to the fruit. (Agricultural
Mechanization Research Progress Report 2003 and 2004).
→ Tef harvesting using combine harvester was found superior if the tef is grown on a
leveled land and harvested by adjusting the cutter bar very low to the ground and
the pickup reel has numerous spring type pick up fingers (National Agricultural
Mechanization Research Program progress Report 2001, Friew Kelemu and
Laike Kebede 2012).
→ The pedal driven maize sheller shelled 12.5 quintals of maize per hour and the
Enset processing device pulverized corm at a rate of 20kg/hr and received a
favorable response in Koffele area (Friew Kelemu et al 2008).
→ The study on camel showed that camels can generate a draft force of 568.23 N,
moving at a speed of 1.14 m.s-1 ,which is equivalent to 0.65KW power and can
work comfortably in hot climate without any physiological stress (Workneh Abebe
The years 2006-2010
→ Three two wheel tractors models DF15 DF 12 and
VARI of 15, 12 and 6 hp and associated equipment
were purchased and tested in 2008 and 2009.
Among the three tractors the DF 15 showed better
field performance and lower fuel consumption
followed by the DF12 model, VARI was inferior to
the two (Unpublished report).
→ Manufacturers were trained extensively on the
manufacturing of proven and potential
→ Works on extruders was also picked up during this
→ Manual lime spreader was developed.
→ Cassava chipping device
→ High capacity maize sheller
The years 2010-2015
→ Studies were conducted on wheat and tef planters;
single axle tractor based conservation agriculture,
appropriate mechanization system post-harvest
handling of horticultural crops,metal silo, cassava
→ The works at this time included collaborative and
externally funded projects (Eastern African
Agricultural Productivity Project (EAAPP),
→ Evaluation, participatory demonstration of metal
silo storage units in four major regions of Ethiopia
supported by FAO.
→ Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture
for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI) supported
by the Australian Government and being jointly
conducted with CIMMYT started).
The years 2015-2017
→ Development of electrical
→ Development of 2WT-trailer
with multi-crop thresher and
→ Development of small hp
→ Development of teff row
→ Development of multi-crop
→ Development of wheat and
→ Development of multi-row
modified knapsack sprayer
→ Development of 2WT-teff
The years 2015-2017
→ Studies were conducted on wheat and tef
planters; single axle tractor based
conservation agriculture, appropriate
mechanization system post-harvest handling
of horticultural crops, , metal silo, cassava
→ Reducing Losses through Improved
Postharvest Management supported by FAO.
→ Studies on evaporative cooling storages for
→ Farm Mechanization and Conservation
Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification
(FACASI) supported by the Australian
Government and being jointly conducted with
→ Appropriate Mechanization for Sustainable
Intensification supported by giz through
→ Development of bean thresher
→ Development of multi-crop seeder
Some of imported technology testing and evaluations
Training on skill building and Business development to Youth
2WT and ancillary equipment Research
15 years(2016-2030) Research strategies developed and projects
Research Trends for Agricultural Mechanization/Engineering
☞ 2010s : the adaptability test for power tillers, development of
ancillary equipment for small hp riding tractor & attachment to
expand the use of power tiller, reapers, pumps, threshers,
☞ 2020s : mechanization of major crops (tef, wheat, maize, barley,
sorghum, beans, rice) on cultivation and post-harvest
technology development for livestock and crop production
☞ 2030s :mechanization and technology development for the
controlled agriculture like horticultural crops and animal
☞ 2050s : adaptability test for precision agriculture and controlled
traffic farming machineries
Research and Development of the Agricultural Machinery
Our future plan
• Human capacity building(PhD)
• Skill development training
2. Directional change
Type of research
• Transitional changes: Medium scale motorized
level of mechanization.
• Reverse engineering.
• Animal production research
• Business incubation
• Public -private partnership strengthening(scale-out