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The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) is to hold an Ethiopian Coffee Conference in November.
It will soon outsource its warehousing service to third party -private, public, and public enterprises and companies.
A group from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), led by country director Dennis Weller, recently visited the ECX.
Anteneh Assefa, CEO of ECX, said November’s coffee conference will bring together stakeholders and promote Ethiopian coffee. Details of the conference are still being finalised.
Ethiopia is believed to be the mother of coffee and it is said the word ‘coffee’ derives from Kaffa, the place where coffee was first identified. The country produces Arabica beans, the most highly-prized coffee worldwide.
Though revenues from coffee exports have improved in recent years, Ethiopia still does not earn as much from exporting coffee as it should.
In 2010/11, the country earned more than $840 million by exporting 200,000 tonnes of coffee. During this period, coffee was Ethiopia’s leading export, accounting for 74% of the country’s export trade.
The establishment of the ECX – the first of its kind in Africa – is credited with helping grow the country’s coffee exports.
During the ECX visit, USAID representatives praised the organisation for its work. Gary Robbins, head of the Economic Growth and Transformation Office, said that warehouses are run by private companies in other companies and said this is something ECX should consider.
Speaking on behalf of ECX, Anteneh told journalists that the organisation already has a mandate to certify third parties in the private or public sector to operate warehouses.
He said ECX wanted to involve the private sector since the very beginning, but there were no interested or efficient companies that would provide the warehouse service.
Transferring the warehouse service to those companies is part of ECX’s five-year plan, he said.
“However, it will require first the occurrence of efficient companies and the confirmation of the respective governmental bodies,” continued Anteneh.
He went on to say that a company seeking to provide that service will need to demonstrate the quality of its produce and proper access to utilities, such as water and electricity.
It will also need to install an information system that will integrate with ECX’s central database and have in place procedures for inspection of its product.