Staple crops are the foundation of family meals and a key to food security in rural Africa. Small-scale producers in Ethiopia have grown staple foods such as teff, sorghum, beans, maize and wheat for their families and their wider communities for centuries. Though admired for their deep knowledge of indigenous seed varieties and agricultural practices, these farmers have faced severe challenges over the last century, such as chronic food shortages and famine.
Small-scale farmers in Ethiopia are committed to making their country and communities self-reliant in staple food production. Achieving this goal will mean sharing knowledge, accessing information and having opportunities to communicate needs and priorities. As elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, interactive radio programs provide an excellent way for small-scale farmers to share knowledge and amplify their voices. Through a four-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Farm Radio International is working with Ethiopian radio stations to develop interactive and highly effective radio programs about teff, sorghum, wheat, beans and maize cultivation.