About 90 percent of the population earns their living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar and foodstuffs for animals. There is also a thriving livestock sector, exporting cattle on the hoof and hides and skins. Mineral exploration has stepped up in recent years – there are reserves of oil, natural gas, coal, gold, copper, tantalum, potash, zinc, iron ore, nickel, marble, precious and semi-precious stones. Thermal power generation schemes are already operational in Afar and Oromo Regions.
The Ethiopian national dish consists of injera, made out of ingredient known as Teffe that originally used to grow only in Ethiopia. Teffe is currently know for its nutrients value of it being gluten free . a flat, circular pancake made of fermented dough on top of which are served different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables and pulses. The sauces are generally spiced with berbere, a blend of herbs and spices (including hot peppers) which gives Ethiopian food its characteristic taste. Vegetarians should try “fasting food” (for devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christians fast days make up nearly half the year), a colorful spread of Salads, vegetables and pulses, devoid of all meat and animal products.Along with the traditional Ethiopian meal, one would typically drink either t’ej, a type of honey wine, or a local beer called t’ella. Ethiopia produces its own wines: Dukam and Gouder are dry reds; Crystal is a dry white; and Axumite is a sweet red. The sister company of BGI Ethiopia (owner of St. George Brewery,) Castel Winery Plc took over the state-owned vineyard located in Battu, some 160Km south west of the capital Addis Ababa. Castel Winery has two product lines namely Rift Valley and Acacia.The food served at hotels, lodges and tented camps is almost exclusively continental cuisine, and universally ample and healthy.
Over 80 linguistic groups exist in Ethiopia, representing four of the five Afro-Asiatic families of languages, including the Omotic language family found exclusively within the confines of Ethiopia. The mystical symbols, myths and ritual practices found in Ethiopia are linked with the mysteries and traditional beliefs of the ancient civilizations of Asia, Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean. The customs, body decorations and celebrations of Ethiopia’s traditional people mirror Africa’s exotic cultural heritage.
With an area of 1, 112, 000 square kilometers, Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined. From the north and running down the center are the Abyssinian highlands, to the west of the chain the land drops to the grasslands of Sudan, to the east the deserts of the Afar and the Red Sea. South of Addis Ababa, the land is dominated by the Rift Valley Lakes.The main rivers are the Blue Nile, the Tekezze (which joins the Nile in Sudan) the Awash, the Wabe Shebelle, the Omo, and Baro and Birbir.It is surrounded by Kenya, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Djibouti.