A 1,500 Hectare coffee plantation owned by the legendary Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebreselassie officially started planting coffee.
The athlete and his associates held a launching ceremony Wednesday, with coffee expert who observed the proceedings. The plantation, located in Sheka zone, near the town of Masha of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional state (SNNPR), is said to have ideal conditions for growing coffee, abundant rainfall, nutrient-rich soil, and is at an altitude of 1,800 meters.
Haile symbolically planted the first tree, which was greeted by cheers and excitement from those attending the ceremony. Over 500,000 coffee plants are ready to be planted in the first phase, and millions would be planted in subsequent phases.
During the ceremony, Haile promised that his plantation will protect the environment and benefit those living and working in the area. He further confirmed that the community is the most beneficiary of the project where a complete school, clinic, residence and shops will be established to form a sort of community on the plantation.
Haile also plans to build a 13km road that links the area around his plantation to the nearest town, which will benefit not only his farm, but also helps local farmers in bringing their products to the market. The road will also have a great impact in enhancing eco-tourism.
In about three years, Haile’s farm plans to produce organic forest coffee beans, which are in high demand on the international market, where a cup of coffee made from the beans can be sold for as high as USD 12 in New York. In addition to coffee, the plantation will be involved in the harvest of natural and organic honey.