The Importance of Ethiopia
SMIL works closely with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) based at the Melkassa Agricultural Research Center (MARC). SMIL also works with universities, regional research programs, and scientists based at other EIAR centers. Ethiopia is considered one of the centers of genetic origin of sorghum and is home to thousands of diverse landraces and improved varieties. Sorghum is a multi-use crop providing grain for consumption to a population of 115 million, of which 41% are under the age of 15. Sorghum is a key source of feed and fodder for Ethiopia’s livestock population, which is the largest in the African continent.
SMIL in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, we are creating innovative ideas to use sorghum and millet. Cookies have been developed with sorghum, wheat, and sweet potato. These are the types of innovations our younger scientists need to be working on.
Our first goal is to support smallholder farmers to get a better yield and support their families. If we are able to support our smallholder farmers, public and private partners, we are succeeding and that is what SMIL does. SMIL helps us be capable to support our different partners and keep us strong and competent in Ethiopia and the region as well. The other thing we have seen is that the SMIL project has published good science in peer-reviewed journals. The output is not only for us, it is for all the sorghum and millet community.
A project in Ethiopia with a large collection of sorghum was an efficient means to adapt sorghum to stressful environments. It's a genetic resource that we were able to make available to other breeding programs.