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Coffee Farmers in Jimma Receive Premium Price in Export Market

Through a partnership with Kata Muduga Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Feed the Future Ethiopia Value Chain Activity (VCA) is supporting farmers, cooperatives, and common interest groups (CIGs) to export their coffee to specialty markets.

Coffee producers in the Gomma, Gera, and Limu Seka woredas of Jimma were trained in compost preparation, good agronomy practices, and postharvest handling to boost yield and quality. The producers saw a significant difference in both yield and quality (higher cupping scores).

Kata Muduga Union is now linking the producers with international buyers. The union entered into an agreement with VCA to support farmers and cooperatives to improve their knowledge and skills on postharvest handling practices and factors affecting coffee quality. Kata Muduga supported seven individual coffee producers, Mohammed Haji Abasimel, Gigue Abalulessa, Biya Faris, Temam A/Mecha, Zakir Haji Abamilki, Mohammed AbaNura, and Dafis AbaFita to export 17,820 kilograms of speciality coffee to Belgium and the US. The export resulted in $44,934 for the farmers, with Gigue Abalulessa’s coffee fetching a premium price of $3.10 per pound. The rest was sold in Belgium at $2.75 per pound, a significant increase over the current speciality coffee global price of $1.60-2.50 per pound.

‘‘I am very pleased with the sale,” said Gigue Abalulessa. ‘’Previously, we only sold locally and did not have a direct linkage with buyers. It’s the brokers who usually come and collect our coffee at whatever price they set. Now, it’s a privilege for us to know our buyers and understand the value of our coffee. This only happened because VCA trained us to work on the quality of our coffee and Kata Muduga Union facilitated the market for us.’’

Cooperatives also exported their coffee with a significant price difference from the previous sale. Nano Chala and Dromina Cooperatives exported 127,200 kilograms of coffee to the US and Europe at the highest price in Kata Muduga’s coffee export history. The cooperatives scored high in two consecutive cupping sessions by VCA and the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). As a result, the Nano Chala cooperatives’ coffee received $3.20 per pound while Dromina Cooperative sold theirs for $2.98-3.10 per pound. In total, the cooperatives made $865,911.

“This sale signifies the potential of the export market for quality coffee,” said Tilahun, a chairperson of Nano Chala Cooperative. “Our farmers worked really hard and applied all the skills and knowledge provided for us by VCA and Kata Muduga Union. We are now collecting the fruit of our labour. We hope to do even better in the next harvest.”

Beshasha Badia, another CIG, is working with VCA to improve coffee quality and eventually become an exporter. While the CIG members are now in the process of acquiring an export license for this harvest, last year they were supported by Kata Muduga to sell 3,000 kilograms of coffee at $3.10 per pound to Murabeni Europe PLC in Japan, for a total of $9,300.

Asnake Nigat, the chairperson of Kata Muduga Union says that the quality of the coffee from individual farmers, unions and CIGs has increased the bargaining power of the union in the international market. “We work with farmers to improve quality and negotiate the best price possible with the international buyers. This year we met our target of exporting 150 tons of coffee to the US, Europe, and Japan, and earned $1.7 million. VCA’s technical support was crucial to this success.”

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