DANIEL NEUHOFF, MEKURIA TADESSE
University of Bonn, Institute of Organic Agriculture, Germany
The collapse of world coffee prices is contributing to an economical and societal decline affecting an estimate of 125 million people worldwide. Ethiopia is the biggest looser with a fall in farmer and government revenues amounting up to 42% within a year. During a one-week visit of the country leading to some major coffee growing regions (Awassa area, Jimma area) intensive discussions on coffee production and marketing with farmers, advisors, traders and researchers were held. The unanimous conclusion was drawn that Ethiopia has a big potential to produce certified organic high quality coffee due to the favourable growing conditions and the high diversity of genetic resources in the country of origin of Coffea arabica. Currently coffee farmers try to convert to organic production, e.g. the `Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union' in order to obtain higher revenues. However conversion to organic coffee production may result in a significant decrease of crop productivity. Therefore various agronomic research is needed. A key focal point is efficient nutrient management by composting coffee husk and by sowing suitable legume-based green manures. Moreover a systematic screening of cultivars with respect to potential use in organic coffee production is needed. Aspects of taste and quality of coffee deserve special attention as well. Agronomic research on sustainable organic coffee production systems is expected to result in production and promotion of high quality (Q0) fair traded organic coffee as a motor for rural development in Ethiopia. In the presentation some major impressions of current coffee production in Ethiopia will be reported and an outlook on future research activities currently under preparation will be given.
Keywords: Coffee crisis, production of high quality organic coffee, Ethiopia