Will Ethiopia’s teff be the next ‘super grain’?
The seed, or grain, in question is called teff.
Ethiopians have been growing and obsessing about teff for millennia, and it may become the new “super grain” of choice in Europe and North America, overtaking the likes of quinoa and spelt.
High in protein and calcium, and gluten-free, teff is already growing in popularity on the international stage.
Yet as teff is a staple foodstuff in Ethiopia, particularly when turned into a grey flatbread called injera, the country currently has a long-standing ban on exporting the grain, either in its raw form, or after it has been ground into flour.
Instead, entrepreneurial Ethiopian companies can at present only export injera and other cooked teff products, such as cakes and biscuits.
However, the hope is that if Ethiopia can sufficiently increase its teff harvest, then exports of the grain itself may be able to start in the not too distant future.
“We started from scratch, and are now introducing our traditional food all over the world,” says Hailu Tessema, founder of Mama Fresh, Ethiopia’s first large-scale producer of injera.
Six days every week Mama Fresh uses Ethiopian Airlines to fly 3,000 injera flatbreads from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, to Washington DC in the US.
Injera is also flown to Sweden three times a week, Norway twice a week, and Germany three times a month. Read more