Arable land is Ethiopia's key natural resource, although approximately only 35% is currently farmed. Grain production specifically accounts for almost 80 percent of cultivated land and employs 60 percent of the rural working population. Agriculture drives the Ethiopian economy and nearly all grain is produced on farms smaller than one hectare.
The global demand for teff from both diaspora Ethiopian/Eritrean communities and beyond is rising. However, small Ethiopian farms struggle to benefit economically from the rapidly increasing global demand for teff. They also struggle to improve agricultural efficiency that could increase yields, allowing them to reach and capitalize on the global market.
The fragmented teff trade system is part of the reason rural farmers fail to properly benefit from increased global demand for teff. According to the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), the current Ethiopian agricultural market is characterized by a large gap in the marketing chain between producers and consumers "coupled with limited market infrastructure and services for farmers."
The teff value chain in Ethiopia involves a network of farmers, rural wholesalers, urban teff brokers, and retailers. From farm to the point of competition, teff growers accrue many costs such as loading, transportation, storage, and fees for brokers and sellers in Addis Ababa.
"Gebeya" Teff market in Debre Sina, Ethiopia. Prices range from 28-32 ETB (Ethiopian Birr) per kg