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Looking to Africa’s Ancient Grains for Food Security

Researchers from the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Nevada are monitoring approximately 1,200 acres of an ancient grain that originated in Ethiopia called teff. It needs a quarter of the water that alfalfa takes, and has a shorter growing season, plus, teff is gluten-free with more iron and fiber and livestock fodder, making it doubly attractive to farmers. Grains like teff, fonio, pearl and finger millet originated in sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa and North Africa. But as the focus of the modern agriculture industry shifted to mass production and standardization, governments and companies emphasized the cultivation of higher-yield, genetically modified wheat, corn and rice, relegating ancient grains to the margins.