Friday, October 14, 2016

Teff could be the next quinoa as Ethiopia boosts exports

(Oct 16,2016, (The Guardian))--Ethiopia’s staple grain is the latest superfood, but there are fears about impact of rising exports on local people who rely on it as their staple food.

There are two inescapable foods in Ethiopia, coffee and teff. While Ethiopian coffee is famous worldwide, the country’s staple grain is still a stranger to western palates. But food entrepreneurs hope teff will soon be as ubiquitous in British supermarkets as it is in Addis Ababa’s kitchens.

Ethiopians have been planting teff – the base of their renowned injera bread - for more than 3,000 years. Yet for businessmen like Aleem Ahmed, this gluten-free grain, packed with amino acids, has the potential to become a lucrative superfood. Companies like Ahmed’s Love Grain in the US or Tobia Teff in the UK want to provide westerners with a healthier alternative to wheat while helping Ethiopian farmers thrive.

A big caveat: exports of teff from Ethiopia were banned for almost a decade. In 2006, the government outlawed international sales of the grain for fear of suffering the same fate as Bolivia during the recent “quinoa fever”. After being branded a superfood, demand for this Andean grain skyrocketed, increasing its price tenfold between 2009 and 2013, with some claiming this affected food security in the Andes. Read more from The Guardian »

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