Coffee: Reinforcing export trade advancing in volume, quality, forex earning


Coffee is a very influential commodity and a special species the world convinced that it has some kind of relation with human being and their dwells. Apart from some kind of seducing aspect and sensuous beauty, coffee has contributed a lot for the comprehensive evolution of many developing and emerging economies. This beverage has an important place in everyday lives and livelihoods of the world population at large.

Ethiopia is widely known to be the botanic garden of Coffee Arabica. Coffee produced in the country is organic and demonstrated by different varieties and best qualities of beans. However, due to circumstances, the country lags behind in reaping up fruits from such blessing. Hence, currently, the authority mandated is trying its best to up line the country among specialty coffee reminding nations.

Ethiopia is known for its various contributions to the world when the rest of the globe was sleeping and under darkness. Ethiopia stood among the first in civilization and served as a source of multidisciplinary teachings the world adapted from it and be a beacon of freedom for most African countries that had been under the sea of darkness.

In countries like Ethiopia, where social interaction has a bigger value, rituals like the coffee ceremony are used as ‘social platform’ where people come together and exchange ideas and discuss on various social, economic and political concerns of their country.

In different gatherings in the country, one of the common ceremonies for betterment and easing things, pursuing sensuous beauty is coffee. It is one of the major cultures in Ethiopia with its own steps. Unlike other coffee consumer countries, in Ethiopia, the coffee is not the only thing that the people need for drink, but smelling the aroma is also important before drinking it.

As far as trade is concerned, Ethiopia imports goods from different countries and exports commodities to various destinations as well. The nation is known in exporting coffee that is locally perceived as the ‘Green Gold’. And this commodity remains as a backbone of the country’s economy in foreign currency earning. In multiple occasions, the Ethiopian coffee has not been promoted to the world as it has to be.

In a recent interview with local media, Gezahegn Mamo, CEO of Wild Coffee Ethiopia, said that as Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee, the country should get what it deserves. Mentioning his view that most Ethiopians think that Ethiopian coffee is well known throughout the world, he expressed the reality from his experience that most people across the world thinks that Brazil is the birth place of coffee. “Therefore”, he suggested: “In addition to promoting it is the origin of coffee beans, Ethiopia should increase its quality and quantity of the exported coffee items to be more competent and predominant.”

To this end, Ethiopian Tea and Coffee Authority announced recently that in the last six months, the country scored the highest figure in exporting coffee. The authority stated that Ethiopia planned to export 123.6 thousand tons of coffee in the last six months and achieved the highest figure which is 148.8 thousand tons. Currently, the country exports one thousand tons of coffee to various countries every day.

Staying with one of the local media, Coffee and Tea Authority Director, Adugna Debella (PhD) said that the policy change in the sector in the past three years bore fruits regarding coffee production, marketing and income generation. In the past six months, the Authority has achieved the best in coffee exchange so far.

“In the course of changing the whole system and policy, our goals are increasing production and also avoiding or minimizing the bureaucracy in relation to trade. The previous challenges made us not to score the goal we wanted to achieve. To alleviate these problems, what we did was changing the policy. We worked hard to address our production problems, trading system, and increase our foreign currency asset. The new policy helped the authority to export our products on the highest level and get the highest income compared with previous fiscal years,” the Director explained.

Having stayed with international media, Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority Deputy Director Shafi Umar, on his part said that the country has planned to get 405 million USD in the last six months and collected 578 million USD from coffee export. This figure has 274 million USD difference or 60 percent increment when it is compared to the last year’s same period.

As to the Coffee and Tea Authority Director Adugna Debella (PhD), when comparing the last year’s achievement with the current figure of the same six months period, the country exported 91,800 tons of coffee to multiple destinations and collected 304 million US Dollars. The difference between these two periods is 57 thousand tons of coffee.

According to Shafi Umar, the achievement or the figure that is scored in this period of time is the highest in the country’s history of coffee trading. Countries like German, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Japan, and the United States of America are the major recipients of the Ethiopian coffee.

The Director General also pointed out that German is taking the lead in buying the Ethiopian coffee with 37 thousand tons.

Previously, Shafi added that China’s rank for receiving and using Ethiopian coffee was 33rd, but in the last six months, China becomes 8th in the list. It was predicted that the global pandemic and the current war in the country might put their adverse impact on the country’s export trade. Fortunately, these obstacles have not impacted the coffee trading negatively.

Based on the information from the Authority, in order to achieve such figures and goals, there are many steps the authority has taken so as to change the system and make things right and easy for every stakeholders. Minimizing the overly bureaucratic system between providers and exporters; avoiding illegal coffee agents and their systems; following methods that upgrade the quality of the coffee; and using latest auction market such as e- commerce to modernize the trading systems are some of the steps the authority has gone through to let the country get better returns from the coffee trade.

The Deputy Director, Shafi Umar believes that the country is still not getting what it deserves from the coffee industry. Interestingly, Far East countries have shown desire to buy Ethiopian coffee, so that the authority plans to take advantage of this interest and address the demand.

The authority strives to ensure the e- commerce trading with better technologies; expanding training centers to upgrade quality of coffee; working with universities to create specialized professionals on coffee; and increasing the number of coffee producing regions, the Deputy Director stressed.

The Coffee and Tea Authority highlighted that Oromia, South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region, Sidama, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambela, regions that are neighboring Oromia, are currently producing coffee. In the current fiscal year, the authority plans to export 280 thousand tons of coffee and get around 1.1 billion USD.

To conclude, Ethiopia’s coffee has various testes that anyone can be served the flavor the person wants. With better trading system and technologies, the Ethiopian coffee will boast the world’s trading system escalating its reputation and demand in the world. The Coffee and Tea Authority should thus, work hard to ensure the best system to support the coffee trade and get better returns from this resource that serves as a back bone to export sector of the economy. Government and all responsible stakeholders need to work hand in glove for the better achievements, it was underscored.

The January 26/2022

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