The transforming value chain of Ethiopia's "orphan" tef crop.
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Main conclusionDespite the relatively little attention given to tef, the value chain is quickly transforming and is expected to further do so in the near future.AbstractTef is called an orphan crop in Ethiopia as it receives relatively little attention from the Ethiopian government and from international donors. Given the low yields of tef compared to other crops, it is often viewed as a low-priority crop and relatively little is known about the value chain of tef. We fill some of this knowledge gap in this paper. We illustrate tef's importance in Ethiopia's food systems and the rapid changes upstream, midstream, and downstream in its value chain. We show that tef production and productivity is rapidly increasing and that tef markets are improving over time. More specifically, using a growth decomposition analysis, we find that while the expansion of land and labor use have been important sources of growth in tef production, the relative contributions of modern input use and agricultural extension have been increasing over time. We also show that tef has greater economic potential, with comparatively more of it consumed by the better-off segments of the population, indicating that its importance is likely to grow over time as income grows in the country. Using reasonable assumptions on income growth, urbanization, and commercialization, we estimate that national tef consumption and marketed output will increase by about 250 and 300%, respectively, over a 20-year period.
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