Ethiopia Economy

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Coffee

3 Comments · Agriculture

Coffee is an indigenous plant to Ethiopia which still grows wild in the regions of Kefa, Ilubabor, Bale, and Gamo Gofa. Entymologists interpret ‘Coffee’ as a derivative of the Ethiopian region, Kefa, from where it originated and then spread to the rest of the world.

The Ethiopian tropical highland climate, its soil and general ecology is most suitable for coffee growing.

Ethiopian coffee is exclusively of the genus Coffee arabica which grows best between altitudes 1100 to 2100 meters with annual rainfall ranging from 1500 to 2500mm. The soil in this area is slightly acidic with a PH of 4.5 to 6.5.

The arabica species of the Ethiopian Coffee possesses a long berry of rich body. These mature slowly over a long period of nearly six months under almost uniform climatic conditions, gathering unique highland flavour and excellent aroma.

Cofee grows in almost all the regions of Ethiopia, but more than 80% of the marketable production comes from what is known as forest coffee, mostly from the regions of Kefa, Welega, Gamo Gofa, Sidamo and Ilubabor Administrative Regions.

The rest comes from coffee gardens found in Shewa and Harerge. The total area under planted coffee is estimated to be about 450 thousand hectares with additional 150 thousand hectares under wild coffee in natural forests which are only partially exploited.

Coffee is produced by private peasants on small holdings, and by cooperative and state farms. The majority of the peasants use traditional methods with a limited farm input resulting in low yield.

There is a negligable use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides which as a positive feature has made Ethiopian coffee pure and appreciably free from chemical residues that have become a problem of our time.

State coffee farm development began on nationalized private commercial farms with a total area of nearly 8000 hectares.

As coffee is the mainstay of the national economy, its development promotion has been immediately enhanced by the establishment of a ministry solely responsible for the development of coffee and tea.

The Coffee Plantation Development Corporation, under the Ministry of State Farm Development, is entrusted with the task of planning and establishing new large-scale coffee plantation development projects and rehabilitating existing old coffee plantations. Its responsibility also embraces ogranizing peasant cultivators into cooperatives, and providing them with credit facilities for farm inputs.

The newly-developed Bebeka coffee plantation project has so far brought 7885 hectares under cultivation out of the projected 10,000 hectares. This brings the coffee production area under the Corporation to about 15000 hectares.

In its endeavour to improve quality, the plan of the Corporation is to wet-process 80% of its harvest.

Coffee has a considerable significance in the national economy, contributing 4 to 5% of GDP and 20% of government revenue. It is also a source of livelihood, directly or indirectly, for about 25% of the population.

As much as this country is the homeland for the coffee plant its people are also heavy consumers of coffee. Over 50% of the coffee produced is consumed within Ethiopia. Coffee brings over 60% of the total foreign exchange earnings.

Ethiopia has, therefore, both a high production potential as well as a large domestic and external market.

Out of the fifty coffee producing countries, it is the sixth major producer and the tenth major exporter in the world. In 1976 E.C (1983/84), of its estimated total production of 216,000 tons, 94,000 tons was exported.

(Source: National Atlas of Ethiopia)

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3 Comments so far ↓

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