Teff (Eragrostis tef) is a crop for which Ethiopia is the center of origin and diversity. Teff adapts to a wide range of environmental conditions and fits to different cropping systems, patterns and sequences. It can grow from sea level up to 2800m and under various rainfall, temperature and soil regimes. It is the most resilient crop that can grow with low risk of failure and has a versatile adaptation and grows in 11 of the 18 major agro ecological zones of Ethiopia. However, the yield is very low as compared to other cereals. The national average yield is estimated to be 0.96 tons per hectare (t/ha) and for south western Ethiopia below 0.5 tons per hectare. However, a yield of 1.7-2.5 t/ha on farmers field and up to 3.4 t/ha on an experimental plot can be obtained with improved varieties and management practices. Ethiopian Agricultural research Institute under its regional research center, Debrezeit Agricultural research center, is currently breeding about 35 teff varieties which are adapted to different agricultural conditions. The varieties have seed color varying from white to brown.
There are respectively three categories of teff: white, red/brown and a mixture of the two (Sergegna in the local language). Teff is also a gluten free crop which recently is grabbing the attention of many researchers to formulate healthy and nutritious foods for celiac patients.
(Ph. 1: White teff)
(Ph. 2: Red/Brown teff )