My Opinion | Aug 24,2019
Over half a dozen of the largest coffee industry lobby groups have agreed to forge an alliance to gain bargaining power and deal with hurdles holding coffee farming from showing improvement in yield.
Ethiopia produced 248,000tn coffee last year, shipped out mainly to the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
Seven associations and cooperative unions signed an agreement at the Coffee & Tea Authority headquarters, on Ras Mekonnen Avenue (near Mexico Square), on September 22, 2021. These include the Ethiopian Women in Coffee, the Ethiopian Coffee Roasters Association, the Ethiopian Coffee Growers, Producers & Exporters Association, the Ethiopian Coffee Exporters Association, and the coffee farmers cooperative unions of Oromia, Southern and Sidama regional states. They pledged to strengthen ties and form a single lobby group.
Industry players believe the move will enable them to address major bottlenecks in the coffee sector, including the dispute over the implementation of vertical integration, a system directly connecting suppliers with farmers without the involvement of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX).
Seven board members from each association or cooperative will be chosen to attend the alliance's first general assembly scheduled for a little over a month. The newly created lobby group hopes to be represented at the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations.
According to Hussein Ambo (PhD), head of the Coffee Growers, Producers & Exporters Association, the alliance has been in the works for close to four years, which has 150 members.
The reluctance of some of their members and the pandemic has been the cause of the delays. Individuals, private limited companies, associations, and cooperatives involved in the coffee industry are eligible for membership in the alliance, which will be known as the Ethiopian Coffee Association.
Desalegn Jena presides over the Coffee Exporters Association, founded a decade ago and represents over 300 members. He sees the move as a step in the right direction in reversing the scattered and fragmented lobby groups unable to advance the industry's interests for policy changes.
"The alliance will be in a better position to help boost production and revenues," said Desalegn.
Officials at the Coffee & Tea Authority, who would like to see export revenues hit a historical high of over a billion dollars, are also upbeat about the development.
Mohammed Shemsu, head of the Office for the Director of the Authority, believes the alliance would gain bargaining power for businesses involved in the coffee sector.
Coffee remains Ethiopia's top export item, generating over 900 million dollars in revenues last year.
"They can work on recurring issues in the coffee sector, which would also make our job easier to understand the reality on the ground," said Mohammed.
However, not everybody is thrilled about the emergence of an umbrella organization for the coffee sector.
An exporter who has been working in the coffee sector for 15 years and has served on the board of Ethiopian Women in Coffee, the alliance is more likely to complicate things than address them.
One of the 43 members in the association, she contends the difficulty of gaining a consensus among the members of one of the existing lobby groups. There is a fear that the alliance would be overshadowed by exporters, who control much of the resources in the industry. It would be better if lobby groups were formed based on roles in the industry, according to this exporter, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.
Anwar Ahmed, a commodity expert, shares some of her fears about the influence of coffee exporters in the value chain. However, he believes an alliance will pay off, allowing industry players the power to influence policy changes.
PUBLISHED ON Sep 26,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1117]
My Opinion | Aug 24,2019
Editorial | Oct 31,2020
Agenda | Feb 06,2021
Radar | Jul 27,2019
Radar | Aug 14,2021
Viewpoints | Apr 09,2022
Editorial | Dec 11,2020
Commentaries | Mar 19,2022
Radar | Apr 30,2022
Radar | Mar 12,2022
July 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
November 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
November 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
October 16 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
Residing in a country with no capital market, an organised marketplace for trading se...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
September 24 , 2022
Look no further than the flower industry to appreciate the importance of the European...
September 17 , 2022
The debate shortly after the Council of Ministers nodded a bill to open the financial...
September 10 , 2022
Ethiopia's policymakers and wonks began planning the economy and directing its course...
September 3 , 2022
The late American President, Ronald Reagan, went back after 50 years to a college in...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
The enormous amount of money generated by the beauty industry amazes me. How we, as consumers, take the words of producers for granted and t...
Or see contact page