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Ethiopia millet and particularly finger millet species (Eleusine coracana) is one of the most commonly farmed crops in the whole of Ethiopia.
Its unique trait of thriving well under stringent conditions-when there’s low rainfall has endeared it to many farmers both small and large scale across the country. It is because of this same nature that it has been used, not once or twice but many times to combat hunger particularly among the low-income families across the country. The only crop that matches its adaptability in dry areas is sorghum, and many refer to it as the ‘Famine’ crop.
Finger millet originated from Ethiopia and Uganda with many of its growers applying traditional agricultural methods to grow it for ages. This has enhanced its appeal to the export market-the market emphasizes that crops be grown and produced using natural methods.
Millet has various nutritional values and has zero percent cholesterol which makes it an ideal food for good for heart health. Its dietary fiber enhances good digestion while the 6 percent iron content it contains helps in the transportation of oxygen in the blood. Millet has at least 22 percent of the daily value of protein. Its high level of carbohydrates and calorie count of 378 makes it a good crop for food security in drought conditions.
Ethiopia ranks 8th on the list of the world’s millet top producing countries worldwide with the 2017 figures showing that it exported approximately 1,017,059 tons
There are several varieties of the Ethiopia millet that include:
Pearl millet- It is the most popular type of millet around the globe. Its ability to survive in areas with minimal rainfall has seen it grown everywhere.
Teff-Usually a small sized grain that is popular for its multiple health benefits. The locals use it to make injera-local bread which has a spongy feel.
Finger millet-It is the dominant type of millet that is grown in Ethiopia with its height averaging 1.5 m when it’s fully developed. Its use range from the manufacturing of flour to that of beverages and is stored for a prolonged period.
Form of export
Ethiopia millet is exported in the form of:
• Flour after milling.
• Grains immediate from harvesting.
The Ethiopia millet is primarily grown in the Amhara region which comprises of West Gojjam and Awi which are high altitude regions. It thrives in dry conditions and is the dominant crop amongst farmers owning between 0.5-1.5 hectares of land which mainly grow it next to sorghum and short-season maize. To ensure the produce is grown using natural means growers apply farm-post manure rather than chemical sprays to boost yields.
Farmers use the hand picking method to pick only the best. They use sickles to cut the tall stalks that can have multiple chaffs of grains at their crests. Drying the millet, chaffs follows to reduce the level of moisture to as low as 12 percent. This is done thoroughly through forced air blowing that reduces the saturation levels in a few hours as sun-drying takes several days and is a tedious process.
Hand rubbing is used to thresh the Ethiopia millet because it is accurate compared to machine threshing with the farmhands removing any sediment and foreign material at every turn. What follows is the winnowing of the grains to get rid of any remaining debris. The process involves fan-aided pouring of the grains from above into the buckets below. Any light speck is blown away from the grains.
Packing and transportation
Ethiopia millet is packed as soon as the sorting is over with jute bags that are hand woven for aeration purposes used for that purpose. Propylene bags with unique abilities to let in the air are also used-packages range from 50-90kgs.
The sacks are silo-pack in layers that can be easy to remove and which solidify the load against damage.
Ethiopia millet storage is done at conditions averaging 4° Celsius under the cool, dry, darkened environment of warehouses. It is also transported under similar conditions to the neighboring port of Djibouti. Delivery of millet by sea takes a few days depending on your location around the globe.
Ethiopia millet is among the best you can get from around the globe. The persistent use of traditional cultivation means over the years has ensured they are always in line with the Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) which has made their crop organic. Make your order now!
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