Book launch: Exploring the importance of teff to Ethiopia’s economy

BY BART MINTEN AND NAHUME YADENE

Teff is the single most important crop in Ethiopia: 43 percent of all farmers grow it. It is the biggest cash crop in the country—the value of its commercial surplus (CS) is equal to the value of the CS of all other cereals combined. Teff’s production value is approximately one third higher than even that of coffee, Ethiopia’s most important export product. Thus, teff is an extremely important income-generating crop—especially for smallholder farmers.

Yet teff is often called an “orphan crop” because it receives little attention compared to major staples such as wheat or rice. The Economics of Teff: Exploring Ethiopia’s Biggest Cash Crop— published by IFPRI with contributions from 27 authors—is the first book of its kind to comprehensively cover issues including agronomy, production, marketing, consumption, and health benefits associated with this grain. The book’s main aim is to focus more attention on teff in order to improve debate and decision making, given that demand is expected to increase significantly in the future as Ethiopia’s population and incomes rise.