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The Coffee Export Market in Ethiopia

March 24, 2023

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Coffee is the second traded agricultural commodity in the world. Coffee plays a pivotal role in the socio-economy of Ethiopia. It employs above 20 percent of the economically active population and contributes more than 25% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. It is cultivated by over 4 million primarily smallholder farming households who earn their income directly from coffee production and has created job opportunity for many urban populations.

Coffee Arabica, the only type of coffee grows in Ethiopia and Ethiopia produces varieties of coffee that have rich original flavors and exports coffee of different types and grades. Recently, Ethiopia has been exporting several specialty coffee types, such as, Sidama, Guji, Djimmma, Lekemti, Harrar, Yirgacheffe, Limmu, Teppi, Ghimbi, Keffa forest, Gemadro, Bebeka, Godere, Bench Maji, Bale, Anderacha, Zege, Amaro, Arsi, Kochere, Ayu, Gura Ferda, Shegitu, Wellega, Geisha, Gera, Yeki, and many more. Ethiopian coffee is highly valued by consumers in a range of coffee importing countries. Ethiopia exports its Arabica Coffee to Europe, Asia, America, Australia and Middle East and other parts of the world.


Ethiopian coffee was named world’s best at First Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards held on November 1, 2016 in New York City.
Representatives from each of the 27 coffee-growing regions were in attendance, waiting anxiously to see if their coffee would be crowned the world’s best.

Ultimately, the coffee grown by Ahmed Legesse, of Sidamo, Ethiopia, narrowly edged out the victory.
Illy explained that Ethiopian coffee contains a mysterious compound that is unique to the region and that science has yet been able to replicate.

First Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards is a celebration of illycaffè’s proud tradition of sourcing, roasting, and distributing the highest-quality coffees available.

“ Coffee plantations to compete with forests ”

Without strong actions to reduce emissions”, the area suited for coffee growing is likely to decline by 50% by the year 2050, says a report titled, “A Brewing Storm: The climate change risks to coffee” released in late August by the Climate Institute, an Australian NGO fighting against climate change.

There will be a 50% decline in the present global growing area for coffee according to a report published in December 2014 by scientists from Berlin’s Humboldt University led by Christian Bunn and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

The biggest deterioration in growing conditions for Arabica type coffee can be expected for Brazil and lower altitude areas in other Latin American countries (brown areas in chart 1).

The biggest deterioration in growing conditions for Robusta type coffee will occur in Congo, West Africa and Vietnam (brown areas in chart 2).

Growing conditions will improve for Arabica in the south of Brazil, in higher altitude locations elsewhere in South America, in East Africa and on South Asian islands and for Robusta in higher altitudes of the present growing regions (green areas in charts 1 and 2).

The Humboldt report warns that an expansion of coffee growing in higher-altitude zones in Latin America and Asia will lead to deforestation, while there is no such danger in East Africa, since it has no forest cover.

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