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Coffee will get its own exclusive office in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) with the goal of boosting the sector’s revenue and development.
Several studies recommended that the government should establish a separate office for the coffee sector, which has been a major source of hard currency earner in Ethiopia for over five decades.
A recent study undertaken by Agrer Consortium recommended that the coffee sector should be led by an independent office at a ministry level to improve its market and production.
At the fifth Oromia Coffee day held at Sheraton Addis, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that the government has given a lot of attention to the sector. He said that during the next five year plan, which will be launched in July 2015, the coffee sector will be organized as an independent entity.
The government had been considering establishing a separate office for the sector. During this GTP there were plans for a coffee institution.
“We want to expand the sector with new features, including value addition,” he said.
Even though the government is focusing on transforming the manufacturing sector in the GTP, Hailemariam said that the coffee sector has also received special attention from the government.
“The private sector has to appreciate value addition as opposed to simply exporting the bean,” he added.
Even though the Ethiopian coffee bean has a good flavor and different varieties, it has not been able to fetch the proper premium on the international market.
Various studies indicate that Ethiopia is the primary centre of origin for the Arabica coffee plant.
The Agrer Consortium study recommended that a meaningful and effective strategy involve increasing quantity, quality, sustainability, consistency of supply and the geographic identity of Arabica coffee. Currently, coffee is controlled by different ministries including the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture. According to experts changing this structure would greatly enhance the development in the coffee sector.
Coffee, before being administered under the Ministry of Agriculture, used to be governed through the Coffee and Tea Authority, an independent entity that was responsible for the development of the sector for several years. The latter carried out the nursery of coffee plant and distribution for farmers. It was also engaged in developing selected seeds to boost the sector’s development.
The Coffee and Tea Authority was also responsible for monitoring the production and exportation of all types of coffee through an auction system. It was later replaced by the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, which commenced coffee trading in 2008.
The first such body responsible for coffee was the National Coffee Board of Ethiopia (NCBE) that pioneered coffee certification when established in 1957. The NCBE’s aims were to control and coordinate producers’ traders and exporters’ interests and to improve the quality of Ethiopian coffee. The labour-intensive tree crop also provides significant employment in rural areas and is the means of livelihood for over 25 million people in Ethiopia.
Oromia is the major source for coffee while SNNP follows. The government has an interest in expanding big plantations in other regions that are new but have an attractive climate for coffee.
The total coverage of coffee plantations in the Oromia region has reached 955, 510 hectares, which was 268,000 hectares about twenty years ago.
From this coverage up to ten percent is forest coffee and 30 to 35 percent is semi forest, according to information from the Oromia Agriculture Bureau.
The major share of the coffee plantations in Ormoia are the backyard of the farmers’ land that covers up to 55 percent, while six percent is owned by mechanized farmers.
From the total 18 zones in the region the 16 have a coffee plantation.