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Marketing Bale's wild coffee

The Problem

Ethiopia’s Bale Eco-region is an area of unique ecological significance. The Eco-region is home to Africa’s largest expanse of Afro-alpine habitat and species of flora and fauna that are not found anywhere else on earth.

High levels of poverty have forced many of Bale’s residents to convert the area’s ecologically significant forests into croplands and fell trees for timber. Yet, many people still rely on the Eco-region’s dwindling forest resources to earn a living.

What are we doing?

Ethiopia gave the world Coffea Arabica, the most commonly consumed species of coffee globally. Today, wild varieties of Coffea Arabica continue to grow under the shade of Bale’s forest canopy. These heirloom coffee varieties have the potential to command high prices on the global speciality coffee market, but very few farmers have been able to realise this potential.

This project helps wild coffee farmers develop production, processing and trading systems that will enable them to sell to lucrative speciality coffee markets. We’re doing this by:

  • Delivering training in coffee processing and post-harvest handling to help farmers meet market standards.
  • Strengthening coffee cooperatives’ quality control processes.
  • Improving cooperatives and forest management committees’ business management skills, so they can build effective relationships with buyers and other supply chain actors.
  • Setting up community-led systems for collecting environmental data, which will allow farmers to capitalise on the coffee’s eco-friendly credentials.

Farm Africa aims to create a ‘win-win’ situation whereby coffee farmers have a sustained economic incentive to protect the forests.

This project has been designed to complement Farm Africa’s “Forest management expansion” project in Bale, which supports local forest users and government to manage the forest together.

Who are we working with?

This project is supported by Conservation International through the Conservation Agreements Private Partnership Platform (CAPPP), which seeks to help conserve biodiversity while improving the quality of life for local communities.