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The System of Tef Intensification:
Opportunities for greater food security in
Ethiopia, and elsewhere, through
modifications in crop management
Tareke Berhe, Ayele G. Ayetenfisu,
Zewdie Gebretsadik, and Norman Uphoff
Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia; and SRI International Network and Resources
Center (SRI-Rice), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
2nd International Conference on Global Food Security
Oct. 12-14, 2015 – Ithaca, NY
Food security in Ethiopia is a major challenge –
having one of the highest rates of food insecurity
Tef grain is the most valued staple food – the base for
Ethiopia’s national favorite food injera, the renowned
sourdough flatbread served with meat or vegetable stew
Tef is becoming appreciated worldwide as a health food.
Supply of tef does not match demand, so its price is high.
Many poor households cannot afford to consume the tef
that they produce, selling it to buy courser grain to eat.
Production is constrained by poverty so producers can hardly
afford agricultural inputs, have mostly poor soils, and climate
is adverse with erratic rainfall and frequent storm damage
Lodging is a major problem with broadcasted tef due to its
high planting density. This creates pre-harvest losses of
grain, which is dropped, with resulting lowering of yield
Varietal differences continue to be important, but changes
in crop management practices can greatly increase yields.
This is true for crops generally, but here we focus on tef.
Agroecological principles and practices can elicit more
productive and robust phenotypes from given crop genotypes
-- by obtaining fuller expression of crops’ genetic potentials
Crops with better-developed root systems are more able to
withstand drought and other climate stresses
Also achieve improved fertility and resilience of soil systems,
thanks to beneficial soil organisms, from microbes to earthworms.
These improve the soil’s structure and functioning, including
greater absorption and retention of water in the soil
Also, plants have more resistance to damage from pests and
diseases
System of Tef Intensification
(STI) methods elicit more
productive phenotypes
from available genotypes,
both local and improved
Matured tef with full heads of grain under STI management
STI grew out of conversation in July 2008, discussing
the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and its
applications to wheat and finger millet in India
• Trials in 2008-09 by Berhe with a grant from Sasakawa
Africa Association  seminar report at Cornell in 2009
• Expanded trials at Debre Zeit and Mekelle in 2009-10 by
Berhe and Gebretsadik with a grant from Oxfam America
• Further trials in 2010-11 with government support and
interest; Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) with
support from BMGF and IFPRI planned expansion
• From 2011-12, trials and evaluations continued, with
extension efforts ramped up year by year
• By 2014-15, farmer use reached 2.2 million with goal set
of >5 million farmers using STI methods within 2-3 years
Year
Area
(mill. ha)
Production
(mill. tons)
STI/TIRR
farmers
Natl. yield
(tons ha-1)
TIRR yield
(tons ha-1)
2008/0
9
1st trials
(SAA)
2.5 3.0 -- 1.2 --
2009/1
0
Further trials
(Oxfam) 2.6 3.1 -- 1.2 --
2010/1
1
Further trials
(ATA accepts) 2.8 3.4 -- 1.3 --
2011/1
2
ATA demos 2.7 3.4 1,400 1.3 2.1
2012/1
3
ATA extension 2.7 3.7 167,000 1.4 2.4
2013/1
4
ATA / Agr Min 3.0 4.4 1.3 mill 1.5 2.7
2014/1
ATA / Agr Min 3.0 4.7 2.2 mill 1.6 2.8
National data on area, production and yield of tef
VARIETY
SOWING
METHOD
PELLETING
PRACTICE
YIELD
(Kg/Ha)
Cross 37 Broadcast None 1,014
Broadcast Yes 483
20 cm x 20 cm None 3,390
20 cm x 20 cm Yes 5,109
Cross 387 Broadcast None 1,181
Broadcast Yes 1,036
20 cm x 20 cm None 4,142
20 cm x 20 cm Yes 4,385
1st Tef Trials with Pelleting ( Synergize = Zn + N + P )
and Spacing, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, 2008
Transplanting 10-day-old seedlings Field at 10 days after
transplanting
Debre Zeit experiments, 2009
Field at 4 weeks after transplanting Field at 8 weeks after
transplanting
STI tef plants ready for harvest
at Debre Zeit research station, 2009
AVERAGE TEF GRAIN YIELD BY PLANTING METHOD, 2012,
WITH DIFFERENT SEEDING RATES (30 to 0.4 kg/ha)
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
30 BC 5 BC 5 Row 0.4 TP
GRAIN YIELD (tn)
30 kg/ha broadcasting of seed; 5 kg/ha broadcasting of seed;
5 kg/ha row planting of seed; 0.4 kg/ha transplanted
seedlings
Maximum Yields from the Different Planting
Methods in 2012 Trials
Quintals per hectare
60
50
Transplanting +
Fertilizer blends
Up to
66
Transplanting
Row
planting
National
average
12-15
Traditional on-farm production methods
(e.g., broadcasting, 30 kg/ha seed rate)
New row planting technology with
reduced seed rate (5-10 kg/ha)
New transplanting technology
Transplanting technology combined
with fertilizers with micronutrients
* Yields are average yield for National Average and maximum yield for Row planting, Transplanting, and Fertilizer
blends Source: Field visits, Sasakawa Global research, ATA Tef Program team analysis
TIRR is a productivity-increasing package of practices
progressively being adopted by farmers since 2011 --
1.3 million farmers in 2013-14; 2.2 million in 2014-15
TefT
Row planting (20 cm row spacing, instead of broadcasting)R
Improved variety (Quncho or other improved seed variety,
instead of local variety)I
Reduced seed rate (3-5 kg/ha, instead of 30-50 kg/ha)R
 TIRR stands for the following elements:
 “TIRR” is a catchy name because it has the same pronunciation
as one of the famous Ethiopian months -- “Tir”
26.6
18.4
15.3
44%
TIRR package
with seed rate
of 10 kg/ha
Traditional planting
with seed rate of
24 kg/ha and more
CSA national average*
with seed rate of
30kg/ha
+74%
Tef yield comparisons by planting methods and seed rates
Average yield in Qtl/ha
Source: 2013 Data from 39 Woredas and 1288 farmers in Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray regions: (collected July 2013-January 2014)
Note 1: Analysis includes data from 1003 farmers (omitting error/outliers from the total data set of 1288)
Note 2: Traditional tef planting refers to use of local seed varieties, broadcasting, and higher seed rate (20-50 kg/ha)
* CSA-Crop Production Forecast Sample Survey, 2013/14 (2006 E.C.)
TIRR package increased yield by 44% compared to the traditional
tef planting and by 74% when compared to the national average
Data showed that
TIRR package
farmers were
using a seed rate
of 10 kg/ha,
although the
recommendation
was for only 5
kg/ha which
should give
better results
TEF PACKAGE AVERAGE YIELDS BY REGION AND BY
PLANTING METHOD, 2012: Average yield increase of ca.
70% over the national average (167,000 farmers)
Average grain yield by planting method
Quintals/hectare
• Data were collected from
~15,800 validating farmers
(and some control farmer
groups) to determine the
results of new technologies
• For the 15,790 farmers,
average yields for row
planting + transplanting
increased by ~70% from
national average (21.7
versus 12.6 qtls/ha)
• As the chart shows, there is
still much work to be done
to introduce and manage
transplanting to realize
potential yield gains
Source: 2012 Data from Regional, Zonal and Woreda administration staff (collected Feb-April 2013)
17
12
16
21222122
18
20
2323
Amhara SNNPOromia Tigray
N/A
Broadcasting
Row planting
Transplanting
Broadcasted tef plants on left compared
with transplanted STI tef plants on right
Management improvements in line with the agroecological
principles and insights from SRI and STI can benefit also
many other crops: finger millet, wheat, sugarcane, maize,
many legumes, some vegetables
1511 - The System of Tef Intensification
System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) in Bihar state of India –
wheat crop in these two fields is the same age and same
variety
Sustainable Sugarcane
Intensification (SSI)
in Cuba and India --
yields of 100-150 t ha-1
instead of 35-50 t ha-1
Resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses seen in rice:
Fields in East Java, Indonesia, hit by both brown planthopper
(BPH) and by storm damage (typhoon): rice field on left was
managed with standard practices; field on right is organic SRI
Modern
improved
variety
(Ciherang) –
no yield
Traditional
aromatic
variety
(Sintanur)
- 8 t ha-1
Much more needs to be researched and tested –
SCI, SRI, STI, SWI, SSI… is a work in progress
• We know that innovations in management which
enhance (a) the growth of plants’ root systems and their
health, and (b) the functioning of the soil systems in
which they grow -- including nurturing of the plant-soil
microbiome --
• Can make quick, low-cost and sustainable improvements
in crop production and in global food security
• The input-dependence of most our current agricultural
technology limits its accessibility to most households
whose food insecurity is greatest  need new directions
• Future climatic and other conditions for agriculture will
be quite different from those of the 20th century, so our
Challenges for making fuller use of STI/TIRR
opportunities to improve food security
and reduce poverty in Ethiopia
• We need to get farmers to change their thinking and
behavior from traditional broadcasting to adopting
row planting with reduced plant populations, and
• For the highest productivity, we need to get farmers to
take up the transplanting of young tef seedlings, etc.
• We need to overcome also the lack of row-planting
implements that are suitable for smallholder farmers
• Also, should remedy the shortage of improved tef seed
suitable for different agroecological regions of Ethiopia
THANK YOU
ATA: www.ata.gov.et
SRI-Rice: ntu@cornell.edu
http://sri.cals.cornell.edu/
aboutsri/othercrops

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1511 - The System of Tef Intensification

  • 1. The System of Tef Intensification: Opportunities for greater food security in Ethiopia, and elsewhere, through modifications in crop management Tareke Berhe, Ayele G. Ayetenfisu, Zewdie Gebretsadik, and Norman Uphoff Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and SRI International Network and Resources Center (SRI-Rice), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA 2nd International Conference on Global Food Security Oct. 12-14, 2015 – Ithaca, NY
  • 2. Food security in Ethiopia is a major challenge – having one of the highest rates of food insecurity Tef grain is the most valued staple food – the base for Ethiopia’s national favorite food injera, the renowned sourdough flatbread served with meat or vegetable stew Tef is becoming appreciated worldwide as a health food. Supply of tef does not match demand, so its price is high. Many poor households cannot afford to consume the tef that they produce, selling it to buy courser grain to eat. Production is constrained by poverty so producers can hardly afford agricultural inputs, have mostly poor soils, and climate is adverse with erratic rainfall and frequent storm damage
  • 3. Lodging is a major problem with broadcasted tef due to its high planting density. This creates pre-harvest losses of grain, which is dropped, with resulting lowering of yield
  • 4. Varietal differences continue to be important, but changes in crop management practices can greatly increase yields. This is true for crops generally, but here we focus on tef. Agroecological principles and practices can elicit more productive and robust phenotypes from given crop genotypes -- by obtaining fuller expression of crops’ genetic potentials Crops with better-developed root systems are more able to withstand drought and other climate stresses Also achieve improved fertility and resilience of soil systems, thanks to beneficial soil organisms, from microbes to earthworms. These improve the soil’s structure and functioning, including greater absorption and retention of water in the soil Also, plants have more resistance to damage from pests and diseases
  • 5. System of Tef Intensification (STI) methods elicit more productive phenotypes from available genotypes, both local and improved
  • 6. Matured tef with full heads of grain under STI management
  • 7. STI grew out of conversation in July 2008, discussing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and its applications to wheat and finger millet in India • Trials in 2008-09 by Berhe with a grant from Sasakawa Africa Association  seminar report at Cornell in 2009 • Expanded trials at Debre Zeit and Mekelle in 2009-10 by Berhe and Gebretsadik with a grant from Oxfam America • Further trials in 2010-11 with government support and interest; Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) with support from BMGF and IFPRI planned expansion • From 2011-12, trials and evaluations continued, with extension efforts ramped up year by year • By 2014-15, farmer use reached 2.2 million with goal set of >5 million farmers using STI methods within 2-3 years
  • 8. Year Area (mill. ha) Production (mill. tons) STI/TIRR farmers Natl. yield (tons ha-1) TIRR yield (tons ha-1) 2008/0 9 1st trials (SAA) 2.5 3.0 -- 1.2 -- 2009/1 0 Further trials (Oxfam) 2.6 3.1 -- 1.2 -- 2010/1 1 Further trials (ATA accepts) 2.8 3.4 -- 1.3 -- 2011/1 2 ATA demos 2.7 3.4 1,400 1.3 2.1 2012/1 3 ATA extension 2.7 3.7 167,000 1.4 2.4 2013/1 4 ATA / Agr Min 3.0 4.4 1.3 mill 1.5 2.7 2014/1 ATA / Agr Min 3.0 4.7 2.2 mill 1.6 2.8 National data on area, production and yield of tef
  • 9. VARIETY SOWING METHOD PELLETING PRACTICE YIELD (Kg/Ha) Cross 37 Broadcast None 1,014 Broadcast Yes 483 20 cm x 20 cm None 3,390 20 cm x 20 cm Yes 5,109 Cross 387 Broadcast None 1,181 Broadcast Yes 1,036 20 cm x 20 cm None 4,142 20 cm x 20 cm Yes 4,385 1st Tef Trials with Pelleting ( Synergize = Zn + N + P ) and Spacing, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, 2008
  • 10. Transplanting 10-day-old seedlings Field at 10 days after transplanting Debre Zeit experiments, 2009 Field at 4 weeks after transplanting Field at 8 weeks after transplanting
  • 11. STI tef plants ready for harvest at Debre Zeit research station, 2009
  • 12. AVERAGE TEF GRAIN YIELD BY PLANTING METHOD, 2012, WITH DIFFERENT SEEDING RATES (30 to 0.4 kg/ha) 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 30 BC 5 BC 5 Row 0.4 TP GRAIN YIELD (tn) 30 kg/ha broadcasting of seed; 5 kg/ha broadcasting of seed; 5 kg/ha row planting of seed; 0.4 kg/ha transplanted seedlings
  • 13. Maximum Yields from the Different Planting Methods in 2012 Trials Quintals per hectare 60 50 Transplanting + Fertilizer blends Up to 66 Transplanting Row planting National average 12-15 Traditional on-farm production methods (e.g., broadcasting, 30 kg/ha seed rate) New row planting technology with reduced seed rate (5-10 kg/ha) New transplanting technology Transplanting technology combined with fertilizers with micronutrients * Yields are average yield for National Average and maximum yield for Row planting, Transplanting, and Fertilizer blends Source: Field visits, Sasakawa Global research, ATA Tef Program team analysis
  • 14. TIRR is a productivity-increasing package of practices progressively being adopted by farmers since 2011 -- 1.3 million farmers in 2013-14; 2.2 million in 2014-15 TefT Row planting (20 cm row spacing, instead of broadcasting)R Improved variety (Quncho or other improved seed variety, instead of local variety)I Reduced seed rate (3-5 kg/ha, instead of 30-50 kg/ha)R  TIRR stands for the following elements:  “TIRR” is a catchy name because it has the same pronunciation as one of the famous Ethiopian months -- “Tir”
  • 15. 26.6 18.4 15.3 44% TIRR package with seed rate of 10 kg/ha Traditional planting with seed rate of 24 kg/ha and more CSA national average* with seed rate of 30kg/ha +74% Tef yield comparisons by planting methods and seed rates Average yield in Qtl/ha Source: 2013 Data from 39 Woredas and 1288 farmers in Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray regions: (collected July 2013-January 2014) Note 1: Analysis includes data from 1003 farmers (omitting error/outliers from the total data set of 1288) Note 2: Traditional tef planting refers to use of local seed varieties, broadcasting, and higher seed rate (20-50 kg/ha) * CSA-Crop Production Forecast Sample Survey, 2013/14 (2006 E.C.) TIRR package increased yield by 44% compared to the traditional tef planting and by 74% when compared to the national average Data showed that TIRR package farmers were using a seed rate of 10 kg/ha, although the recommendation was for only 5 kg/ha which should give better results
  • 16. TEF PACKAGE AVERAGE YIELDS BY REGION AND BY PLANTING METHOD, 2012: Average yield increase of ca. 70% over the national average (167,000 farmers) Average grain yield by planting method Quintals/hectare • Data were collected from ~15,800 validating farmers (and some control farmer groups) to determine the results of new technologies • For the 15,790 farmers, average yields for row planting + transplanting increased by ~70% from national average (21.7 versus 12.6 qtls/ha) • As the chart shows, there is still much work to be done to introduce and manage transplanting to realize potential yield gains Source: 2012 Data from Regional, Zonal and Woreda administration staff (collected Feb-April 2013) 17 12 16 21222122 18 20 2323 Amhara SNNPOromia Tigray N/A Broadcasting Row planting Transplanting
  • 17. Broadcasted tef plants on left compared with transplanted STI tef plants on right Management improvements in line with the agroecological principles and insights from SRI and STI can benefit also many other crops: finger millet, wheat, sugarcane, maize, many legumes, some vegetables
  • 19. System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) in Bihar state of India – wheat crop in these two fields is the same age and same variety
  • 20. Sustainable Sugarcane Intensification (SSI) in Cuba and India -- yields of 100-150 t ha-1 instead of 35-50 t ha-1
  • 21. Resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses seen in rice: Fields in East Java, Indonesia, hit by both brown planthopper (BPH) and by storm damage (typhoon): rice field on left was managed with standard practices; field on right is organic SRI Modern improved variety (Ciherang) – no yield Traditional aromatic variety (Sintanur) - 8 t ha-1
  • 22. Much more needs to be researched and tested – SCI, SRI, STI, SWI, SSI… is a work in progress • We know that innovations in management which enhance (a) the growth of plants’ root systems and their health, and (b) the functioning of the soil systems in which they grow -- including nurturing of the plant-soil microbiome -- • Can make quick, low-cost and sustainable improvements in crop production and in global food security • The input-dependence of most our current agricultural technology limits its accessibility to most households whose food insecurity is greatest  need new directions • Future climatic and other conditions for agriculture will be quite different from those of the 20th century, so our
  • 23. Challenges for making fuller use of STI/TIRR opportunities to improve food security and reduce poverty in Ethiopia • We need to get farmers to change their thinking and behavior from traditional broadcasting to adopting row planting with reduced plant populations, and • For the highest productivity, we need to get farmers to take up the transplanting of young tef seedlings, etc. • We need to overcome also the lack of row-planting implements that are suitable for smallholder farmers • Also, should remedy the shortage of improved tef seed suitable for different agroecological regions of Ethiopia
  • 24. THANK YOU ATA: www.ata.gov.et SRI-Rice: ntu@cornell.edu http://sri.cals.cornell.edu/ aboutsri/othercrops