Addis Ababa Feburary16/2017 Diversifying markets and encouraging local exporters to engage in value addition is the way to improve Ethiopia’s earnings from coffee, coffee exhibitors said.
The East African nation grows the best coffee in the world known for its special taste and originality. It is the largest coffee producer in Africa and the fifth in the world contributing about 7 to 10 percent of the world coffee production.
Despite this fact, the revenue the country earned from coffee has been reducing over the years because of global and domestic challenges the sector has faced.
Paul Aduda Marketing Manager of THIKA Coffee Mills, an exhibitor from Kenya, commented on the need to further diversify the market other than Europe and the America. He urged the need to consider emerging and new markets such as China, Japan and Middle East.
The value that Ethiopians have given to coffee, including the tradition of drinking coffee by the majority of the population, which is not common in other African countries, and the unique coffee ceremonies need to be shared with other countries, he added.
“But of course Ethiopia is doing very well with a good culture and history of coffee”, he said. “So basically we also learn a lot from Ethiopia because the culture of Ethiopian coffee has made it even better”, Aduda noted.
John Nuwagaba, General Manager of Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union, Uganda for his part highlighted the need to encourage local exporters to engage in value addition apart from exporting raw coffee.
“The Ethiopian coffee is excellent and we urge the producers to take control over their coffee to reduce international and multinationals so that the farmers can have full value of benefit from the coffee they produce", he said.
He said the country should encourage local exporters rather than multinational companies in the sector to benefit from the resource.
“I urge the country to encourage the national exporters get strong so that they can add value to it because when multinationals make profit they go back to their mother countries”, Nuwagaba pointed out.
“So the Ethiopian people have to take control of the whole value chain so that they can satisfy the market and they can get more money for their people to improve the livelihood and transform the country”, he underlined.
Coffee in Ethiopia employs a large number of people. Around 20 million people are directly and indirectly deriving their livelihoods from it, and hence is the major agricultural product which generates about 26 percent of the total export earnings of the country.