Ethiopian coffee industry struggles as exports decline by half

Coffee_beans_nate_steinerEthiopia exports Arabica coffee beans which is popular worldwide. (Image source: nate steiner/flickr)Ethiopia's coffee export has fallen 50 per cent short of the government's projected target for this fiscal year

The government had projected US$1.1 billion revenue from coffee beans, but the country managed to earn only $505.6 million from coffee exports.

The downward trend began in 2008/09 following the government's decision to tighten its grip on the sector, while international prices hit a 13-year high in 2010.

"There is a disconnect between coffee prices on the international market and what our government officials think. This is a serious problem that needs urgent action by the concerned bodies," a coffee exporters' body stressed.

The government controls and policies are complicated, coffee exporters complained. The quality of the coffee did not meet the international standards and requirements.

"Coffee was exported by mass without taking into consideration its quality and geographical aspects," exporters pointed out.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Trade is expected to call for an emergency meeting with the coffee exporters to thrash out issues affecting the sector.

In the four years since Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) took control, the country's net export has declined by about nine per cent to an average of 164,735 tonnes per year, from the previous four years' average of 180,195 tonnes per year.

Based on available data, the country's export this year is forecasted to be about 143,442 tonnes, a decline by about 30 per cent from the previous year's 199,871 tonnes.

Ethiopia exports Arabica coffee beans, which are popular worldwide.

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