Ethiopia is widely recognized as the origin country of the world’s most popular and adored brew, coffee. The nation is undeniably producing world-class varieties of coffee beans and plays the best role to bring them to the international coffee market.
About 95% of these beans are produced organically without any trace of pesticides or fertilizers and are sold at three times the average export price.
Despite producing the best quality coffee, and a surge in demand, industry is still ranked behind other major producers like Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. There are many reasons attributed to low productivity like climate change, restricted access to high quality seeds, and lack of awareness in scientific methods of cultivation by small holder farmers etc.
Driven by low productivity coffee plantations are expanding into the forests which in turn is degrading the land and increasing carbon emissions from the forest sector. These fast depleting forests are the natural genetic bank for Arabica varietals, protect bio-diverse habitats, and sustain the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers who harvest the extraordinary coffees that grow wild there. Therefore, protecting these tropical forests and the biodiversity within it gains paramount importance and the responsibility that falls to everyone across the globe to conserve them for future generations of coffee connoisseurs.
Protecting Ethiopia’s Forest Coffee
There are still hope in protecting these biodiversity rich tropical forests and thereby the future of high quality coffee. The reason behind this is because Ethiopia is probably the only origin where the manner in which coffee is produced by smallholders protects tropical forests and the biodiversity within.
But the sole responsibility does not lie on the farmers alone.
Cooperatives are building awareness among their members about how to protect the woodlands. And governments — local, regional, and national — are promoting more responsible uses for the forests as part of broader environmental sustainability efforts. Programmes such as Participatory Forest Management (PFM) policy by the Ethiopian government are one such example.
Kerchanshe Trading being a major Ethiopian producer and exporter of coffee, understands the significance of conserving the future of coffee. Hence through its many initiatives the company has engaged in sustainable organic coffee production and invested considerably in community and environment development projects.