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The first international conference on Ethiopian coffee was held for two days in Addis Ababa from November 8 to 9.
The conference was opened by PM Hailemariam Desalegn that focused on the Ethiopian coffee market linkage and quality production to meet the standard that it deserved.
The conference was held under the theme of ‘Strengthening the Legacy of Our Coffee’ and aims at promoting Ethiopian Coffee on the international market. It is expected to facilitate the exchange of experience among stakeholders and enhance the transfer of information so as to allow the coffee sector to take advantage of key opportunities and resolve challenges. “More than 15 million Ethiopians are associated directly or indirectly from the coffee sector” Prime Minister Hailemariam said at the opening. Ethiopia enjoys a comparative advantage in trading coffee which has allowed the nation to trade more volume and to increase its share of the global market and to enhance the export income he said.
Matthew Hodges, president of GeoCertify a company based in Boston, told Capital that the conference represents the commitment of Ethiopia to achieve higher quality coffee production. “This is a very important and exciting event, the first meeting of this kind in Ethiopia, to bring together all these various players to discuss how to move forward. It has good progress in the market especially in Africa,” said the coffee expert who work with several coffee buyers including Starbucks the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 19,972 stores in 60 countries.
According to Matthew, Ethiopia has several varieties of coffee, but most countries have only one or two, so this conference is a good opportunity to get the quality and tractability of coffee.
This meeting is really useful to see people coming from every perspective and focusing together on the issues that need to be resolved.
Tadesse Meskela, general manager of Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, told Capital that this meeting can create awareness for buyers about Ethiopian coffee’s potential and quality, and it also creates a good opportunity to get huge buyers.
The main aim of the meeting is to create a venue for buyers and sellers to discuss issues surrounding the coffee business.
About 75 percent of the biggest global coffee buyers and major relevant organizations attended the event.
Several discussions and presentations that will boost the country’s coffee export were made during the event.
“This is the big occasion for Ethiopian coffee; the government has given high priority for this conference. Coffee needs more promotion. Previously we have not been promoting our coffee, but this kind of event will play a big role to expand the export and revenue from the coffee sector,” Daniel Mulu, project coordinator of the Coffee Quality Institute of America, told Capital.
“Our major problem is creating market linkage, however we have high grade coffee, due to that we have to work strongly to promote and create a strong market link to sell our bean based on its standard,” Daniel said. He said that this kind of meeting has great advantage to meet directly large buyers and roasters that come from all over the world. Buyers from North America, Europe, Japan and the Middle East attended the event.
Participants said that the PM’s attendance has a positive impact for the sector’s growth as other stakeholders will give it high attention.