http://www.icrisat.org/newsroom/latest-news/happenings/1689/1.jpg

Tef, gluten-free, highly nutritious and drought-tolerant

Photo credit: ICRISAT

Tef: New superfood crop in ICRISAT’s portfolio

Tef (Eragrostis tef), an important crop for both income and nutrition in Ethiopia, has joined the list of ICRISAT’s research crops. Being a minor millet and grown in semi-arid and sub-humid environments, it fits well into ICRISAT’s mandate.

Injera made from tef is a staple dish in Ethiopia.
Photo: GA Ayele

 

Tef is not only gluten-free, but also highly nutritious. It has the highest amount of protein among cereals and has high levels of calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, barium and thiamine.

Relatively unknown outside the country, Ethiopians are proud of the crop and consider it as their identity. Tef is grown on 3.02 million ha land with more than 6.54 million smallholder farmers producing 4.75 million tons. It is the number one crop in terms of area and ranks second in terms of production in Ethiopia.

The decision to include tef was made by ICRISAT Governing Board during its 72nd meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2015. This was at the request of Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). As a follow-up, ICRISAT organized a stakeholder consultation meeting recently to identify key constraints and opportunities using the value chain approach.

“It is really exciting to focus on tef which is gaining prominence internationally. The ability of the crop to grow in diverse environments and its nutritional value makes it an extremely important crop in improving the resilience, income and food security especially under climate change. There is a need to improve the profitability of tef cultivation while undertaking genomic and genetic studies that help develop varieties resistant to lodging and other stresses that the crop is facing,” said Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT.

Read the full story: ICRISAT

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.