July 17, 2022 – Researchers are bringing teff – the staple food for millions of Ethiopians – to Israel.

It’s best known as the main ingredient of injera, the sour, Ethiopian flatbread, and it’s now being described as a new superfood, quinoa for the 2020s.

It is gluten-free, rich in amino acids, protein, fiber, and minerals. And it can grow in harsh conditions and drought-prone climates.

Prof Shuki Saranga cultivating teff at the Joseph Marguleas Experimental Farm, in Rehovot. Courtesy

Bringing a crop from the Horn of Africa to the Mediterranean sounds simple enough, to those outside the world of agriculture.

But as Prof Shuki (Yehoshua) Saranga, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, tells NoCamels, it’s a huge challenge to identify the one breed out of many hundreds that is best suited for modern, mechanized cultivation.

The problem is that 95% of the world’s teff is grown in Ethiopia, and very little of it is available for export.

The government actually banned all foreign sales of teff between 2006 and 2015 to make sure there was enough for its own population and even now exports are at a very low level.

Prof Saranga and his team are working hard to develop teff as a commercial crop in Israel, to provide consumers with a gluten-free alternative, and to supply the 160,000-strong Ethiopian community with a steady and fair-priced supply of their traditional staple.

Read the entire original No Camels article by John Jeffay here.