A Case Study from Jimma Area
NCCR North-South Dialogue No. 26

by Aklilu Amsalu, Eva Ludi

Bern, NCCR North-South 2010

This report is about coffee producers in three villages in Jimma Zone in the highlands of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is known for its high-quality coffee which is much sought after by speciality buyers. Over 60% of Ethiopia’s foreign earnings are generated by coffee export and the sector directly and indirectly provides a livelihood for over 15 million people. As part of a larger project exploring coffee value chains in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, this study looked into different ways of producing and selling coffee, either for the mainstream (commodity) market or for the Fair Trade market. One of the key questions that this research aimed to answer was whether producers producing for the Fair Trade market are better off – in both financial and non-financial terms – than their fellow coffee producers who produce for the commodity market. Jimma is an important coffee growing area in Ethiopia and is home to several cooperatives that are members of the Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union (OCFCU), a Union representing growers, processors and suppliers of high quality, organic Arabica coffee for direct export. There are a number of benefits of being a member of OCFCU for smallholder coffee producers, such as higher farm-gate prices. However, several factors limit the benefits of smallholder production, e.g. tiny landholdings that allow only limited income, or a considerable pro- portion of organically produced coffee that does not find premium buyers but is sold as commodity coffee at much lower prices.

Amsalu A, Ludi E. 2010. The Effect of Global Coffee Price Changes on Rural Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management in Ethiopia. NCCR North-South Dialogue 26. Bern, Switzerland: NCCR North-South.


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