GOVT TO WORK WITH STAKEHOLDERS TO MAKE COFFEE ETHIOPIA’S BIGGEST EXPORT EARNER, SAYS P.M.

ADDIS ABABA-- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says the government will work closely with stakeholder to resolve the challenges which are hampering Ethiopia's coffee exports in orer to make the commodity the biggest foreign exchange earner for the country.

He said this at a meeting here Thursday with key industry players and regulators of the coffee sector to address constraints faced by the industry in order to improve productivity, value addition and export earnings for Ethiopia, which describes itself as the home of coffee as it is where Coffea arabica, the coffee plant, originates.

The discussions, held under the theme, Coffee Marketing Development: Opportunities, Major Obstacles and Solutions for Alternatives, was attended by government officials in the sector, coffee producers, suppliers, exporters and officials of the union which represent the approximately 30 million people directly and indirectly dependent on coffee for their livelihood.

Illegal coffee trading, the lack of value addition, coffee prices as well as lack of promotion of coffee are the major challenges in the sector, it was stated during the discussions.

Furthermore, it was indicated that issues concerning the industry were not centralized at one organization but were dealt with by six different offices, something which industry players see as another obstacle for the sector.

In recent years, coffee producers said, they had also faced the challenges of the peace situation in the country.

The Prime Minister said regarding peace and security in the country the government was working to ensure this and added that investors should benefit the people in areas surrounding the places they invested in.

Ethiopia managed to secure 838.2 million US dollars from the export of 238,465 tons of coffee in the just ended fiscal year, 44 per cent less compared with the earnings from the same period of the previous year.

Ethiopia exports coffee to some 60 countries with Germany, the United States and Saudi Arabia being the main export destinations.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK