An increase in the quality and market share of
coffee exports was set out in the five-year
strategic plan of the Ethiopian Coffee Exporters
Association (ECEA) that was announced by the
association at the Hilton Addis, on Friday, March
Ethiopia’s coffee exports have only three per cent
to five per cent of the global market share, even
though it is one of the 10 coffee producers with
much room for improvement in export volume,
according to Tesfaye Kenna, senior marketing officer
and associate general manager of the ECEA.
The country’s exports of 172,000tn in the previous
budget year earned it around 528 million dollars,
but this is to increase to more than 600,000tn and
earnings of two billion dollars at the end of five
years, he said.
The goal of growing five million quintals of coffee
by the fifth year was also established in the new
strategy of the association, which was founded 42
These projections were based on a study recently
commissioned by the ECEA and sponsored by USAID. It
was conducted at a total cost of 200,000 Br by a
group of consultants, one of whom is Habteselassie
Hagos, former vice president of Commercial Bank of
The five-year plan aims to enhance quality in order
to boost exports and create a competitive advantage
in the unpredictable global coffee market, according
to Emebet Tafesse, deputy president of the ECEA and
owner of Import Export Plc and Erkab Transit &
Advisory Service Plc.
The association plans to open a coffee museum and
establish its own permanent offices, she said. It
has also completed the business plans for the next
half-year and budget year, according to the deputy
With global coffee prices at their highest levels in
years, and with major coffee exporters in Colombia,
Brazil, and Central American countries hit hard by
climate change, association members feel that
Ethiopia should introduce its products to new
markets such as mainland Europe, the US, and China.
The ECEA, which counts the Oromia (OCFCU) and Sidama
coffee farmers cooperative unions (SCFCU) under its
98 members, recently participated in the Guangzhou
China Coffee and Tea Exhibition.
The OCFCU was established in May 1999, with 34
unions, 22,500 households, and 825,000 Br in
capital. It has since grown to 198 unions, more than
200,000 households, and a capital of 100 million Br.
The SCFCU was established in 2001 and had a
membership of 87,000 farmers in 2008. The union is
known for its annual production of garden coffee
amounting to 350,000ql of high quality organic
Arabica beans from 70,000ht of land.
The country’s total coffee production in 2009/10 was
2.7 million quintals, a two per cent increase from
the previous year. Despite this apparent plateau,
Ethiopia remains the eighth largest coffee producer
in the world.
“For this reason, using the current high global
prices as well as the shortage of supplies from
traditional coffee producers in the Americas would
be beneficial to our export market,” Emebet said.
“However, to stop the price increase from affecting
the average coffee user in Ethiopia, we have to
strengthen consumer protection unions.”
The ECEA claims it is not only concerned with the
consumers, but also local producers.
“The association plans to open a coffee fund in the
next five years to support fair prices for coffee
farmers and traders,” said Tadese Meskela, general
manager of the OCFCU and board director of the ECEA,
which aims to create a business facilitation forum
for exporters ranging from quality control to
informing on current world coffee prices.
“It also plans to build infrastructure [both
physical and informational] to mitigate the risks of
global coffee price shocks, such as previous ones
that harmed farmers, especially those in Haraghe
Zone, Oromia Regional State.
Today, 454gr of coffee, after roasting, is reduced
by 20pc and sold for between 30 dollars and 40
dollars in foreign markets. Nevertheless, farmers
who grow the coffee in Ethiopia get three dollars
for the same amount, while 10 years ago it would
have fetched farmers 0.60 dollars.
“However, with 60pc to 70pc of coffee in Ethiopia
being normal coffee, its packaging, processing
costs, port transfer issues, and insurance costs are
taking a toll on the coffee industry.”