Starting in July 2015, 48 Ethiopian companies will be able to resume exports of teff flour. Teff is a widely used food grain in the country. The government has in part removed the export ban initially established in 2006 owing to fears that food production would fail to keep pace with rising demand. Various parties, most notably the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), have been calling for some time now for the ban to be removed.
According to the FAO, the rise in teff prices that will follow on from its return to the global market will enable the 6.5 million growers to increase their income and make investments to achieve higher productivity. The average yield per hectare is relatively low, at 1.4 tons, compared with a global average of 3.2 for grain production.
Studies suggest that higher investment (in fertilisers, micro-nutrients, machinery, research etc.) could increase average yields to 5 tons per hectare. This is an important prospect, considering that about 20% of Ethiopia’s arable land is used for teff, and that this is the only cereal production in which the country enjoys a comparative advantage at the global level.