Resilience of the Tef Value Chain in Ethiopia – Final report

Joerin, Jonas; Assefa, Kebebew; Krütli, Pius; Benabderrazik, Kenza; Hauenstein, Samuel; Messmer, Luzian; Lulseged, Tewodros; Dawoe, Evans; Aning, Samuel; Tadele, Zerihun; Six, Johan (2018). Resilience of the Tef Value Chain in Ethiopia – Final report Zürich: ETH Zurich

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The emergence of more frequent and intense stresses and shocks challenge the functioning of stakeholders in food value chains. Shocks related to climate change (e.g. drought) and market changes are of growing concern to stakeholders in the tef value chain in Ethiopia. While tef farmers are directly suffering from a drought shock in form of yield losses, other activities before and after the production suffer from cascading impacts. A reduced yield means for them less trading and processing opportunities. Accordingly, it requires them to be flexible to respond to such a sudden change.
To display how stakeholders in food value chains deal with shocks, we adopt the concept of resilience and combine it with a transdisciplinary research approach. This means that the research team and the stakeholders jointly identified areas of concerns and actions to be taken to assess and enhance their resilience against drought risk.
This report summarises the key steps, results and lessons learned from this research project. In a first step after establishing a transdisciplinary process with a selected number of key stakeholders of the tef value chain, we conducted a survey-based resilience assessment among all stakeholders to understand their ability to deal with drought shocks. In a second step, through a design-thinking approach, stakeholders identified relevant action measures which would enhance their resilience against drought shocks. We identified the following key issues and findings:
• Stakeholders across the tef value chain are highly challenged by an occurrence of a drought. Their resilience to avoid, absorb, recover and learn from a drought event is low to moderate. The cascading effects of a drought cause tef prices to increase which means that droughts indirectly influence the functioning of all other stakeholders across the tef value chain.
• All stakeholders have hardly incorporated the possibility of a drought shock into their business activities. Although, stakeholders do have a certain robustness to avoid a drought, they rely almost exclusively on financial resources to absorb, recover and adapt to it. In particular, tef processors rely most on a continuous stable and safe (high quality) supply of tef grains. In contrast, the income of tef farmers, traders and millers relies not only on producing or processing tef, but also on other crops (grains).
• Stakeholders proposed various action measures that directly address deficits identified in the resilience assessments. However, most of these action measures require external help, such as the government, NGOs, research institutes and international development agencies.
• The way forward is to transform the tef value chain in Ethiopia and to establish a roundtable together with all stakeholders. A roundtable would allow to identify ways how to build resilience in a system which is currently protected by an export ban to keep stable domestic prices of tef.
• From a resilience perspective, it is crucial to equip stakeholders with greater flexibility and independence. Making the system more resilient will have positive implications on the well-being of all stakeholders and will reduce the impacts of future droughts and other types of shocks.

Item Type:

Report (Report)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Development
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Tadele, Zerihun


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)


ETH Zurich




Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

28 Nov 2018 09:05

Last Modified:

31 Oct 2019 09:04

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