What makes Teff so Special?
Teff leads all the grains – by a wide margin – in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach.
This “super grain” consists of essential amino acids, minerals, B vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber. Teff’s excellent nutrition is proved to be helpful against Type 2 diabetes, Celiac disease, obesity, osteoporosis and anemia experienced sometimes during pregnancy anemia. Furthermore, it serves as an excellent forage grass for livestock.
Teff is high in resistant starch, a newly discovered type of dietary fiber that can benefit blood sugar management, weight control, and colon health. A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor, teff is a healthy and versatile ingredient for many gluten-free products. Because of the nutritional value of teff, global demand has been increasing by 7-10% per year, prompting Ethiopia to increase exports and develop international partnerships to speed up the modernization of agriculture and boost research.
The rapid rise in the level of obesity around the world has led to increased awareness of diet and lifestyle. In the United States alone, over 90 million adults (approximately 37%) are considered overweight or obese. The problem of obesity is accompanied by an unprecedented increase in food allergy and intolerance. The main source of food allergy and intolerance is considered to be gluten. This has created a rapid rise in the demand for food that is wholesome, gluten-free, and low in sugar and salt content.
Why has Sheba Farms decided to work primarily on Teff?
Unfortunately, there is a big gap between supply and demand in the world market. The over six million families in Ethiopia who farm over three million hectares do not produce enough for the local population of 100 million let alone the international consumers. Hence, export of Teff grain is banned by the Ethiopian Government. Other Countries (e.g. India, Australia, South Africa, Spain) have tried to meet global demand unsuccessfully. As a result, Teff remains the most expensive commodity among cereal grains as demonstrated in Table 1 below.