Breeding Tef for Israeli Climate

Saranga Yehoshua, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Plant Sciences and Genetics


Eragrostis tef (tef) is an annual cereal grass that is mainly cultivated for its edible seeds in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is the most important staple crop. Additionally, tef is used as nutritious fodder to feed ruminating animals in Ethiopia and horses in the United States. Global tef popularity has increased due to it being gluten-free and its unique nutritional content. As a result of increased demand from around the world and drought-induced low yields, Ethiopia restricted exports of tef to reduce local prices and to secure its affordability to the 50 million people who rely on it as a staple food crop.

Israel is home to approximately 200,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans who use tef flour in their diet and cultural dishes. This created an annual market demand of approximately 8,000 tons, which is partially met by the 4,000 tons allowed for export by the Ethiopia government. There is currently an unmet market demand for high quality tef flour as a result of the Ethiopian export ban.

Tef experiment in Israel, 2019


Our Innovation

The researcher has a collection of 400 characterized tef varieties which provide the basis for breeding of high-yield, high-quality and lodging resistant tef varieties, which are better adapted to modern cultivation practices under Israeli and Mediterranean conditions.


We are seeking partners to further fund research and breeding towards the commercialization of high yielding tef varieties for commodity and health food markets, well adapted to advanced agricultural systems. We have numerous tef lines, the scientific know-how and in-depth knowledge of the best breeding practices.

Contact in Yissum 



Contact for more information:

Ilya Pittel
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