Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ethiopia’s teff grain set to be world’s next ‘superfood

(Mar 02, 2014, (Gulf News))--Mineral-rich and high in protein, teff is ideal for diabetics, and sought after by people with gluten intolerance. Debre Zeyt: Under a searing midday sun, a herd of cattle circles atop a pile of golden teff, thrashing the wheat-like grain, a method that has been practised by Ethiopian farmers for centuries.

The crop, mostly grown in the Horn of Africa, is a key part of the country’s heritage and a crucial food staple, but is also gaining increased interest abroad among health afficionados seeking a nutritious, gluten-free alternative to wheat.

“Ethiopians are proud of the crop because it is almost our identity,” said Solomon Chanyalew, director of the Debre Zeyt Agricultural Research Centre, a teff research hub. “But these days, teff is getting global attention,” he said. Relatively unknown outside of Ethiopia — for now — the cereal is predicted to replace quinoa as the latest global “super-food”.

But a ban on exports to control price hikes at home has left farmers tied to local consumers, limiting their contribution to growing markets abroad. The poppyseed sized grain is renowned for its nutritional qualities. Mineral-rich and high in protein, teff is also a slow-releasing food, ideal for diabetics, and sought after by people with a gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease.

“Teff is not only gluten-free, which is an increasingly important aspect of foods that is being sought out, but it’s also incredibly nutritious. Many people consider teff to be a superfood,” said Khalid Bomba, CEO of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency. Read more from Gulf News »

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