Professor, Plant Breeding and Seed, Mekelle University, Ethiopia


Fetien Abay Abera has been a Professor of Plant Breeding and Seed at Mekelle University since 1993. She is currently Visiting Professor at the University of California Davis in the department of Plant Sciences. At the Bureau of Agriculture (1984-1987) she was exposed to the challenges of subsistence farmers in plant breeding and appreciated the shortcomings of the extension system to serve poor farmers. Her work at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) equipped her with the traditions of scientific research but also with its limitations in addressing the challenges of poor farmers—their perspectives, needs, and contexts. She released six high-yielding, quality barley varieties, empowering mountainous farmers by increasing their productivity and income. Fetien has created national and international partnership linkages and networks and has played a visible role in building Ph.D. and MSc. capacity in Africa. Currently, she is the in-country coordinator of the Feed the Future Post-Harvest Loss Reduction Innovation Lab (PHIL) and DIVERSFARM-NRC projects. Over the course of her career thus far, she has been recognized by the Ethiopian Government, the African Union, and numerous think tanks, research institutes, universities, and NGOs by means of grants, fellowships, awards, and appointments. She completed her BSc. in Plant Science at Haramaya University, Ethiopia, her MSc. in Rural Resource Management (RRM) at the University of Wales, UK, and her Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Seed at the Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU).