April 21

Analysis: Ethiopian Farmers Triple Coffee Yields With Sustainable Tree Stumping

Ethiopia is widely recognized as the birthplace of Arabica coffee, but has one of the lowest levels of coffee productivity in the world.

The quality of Ethiopian coffee isn’t the problem. About 95% of production from the country’s diverse coffee varieties is organic, traditionally cultivated without the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Demand isn’t the issue either. Global coffee consumption has grown considerably since the 1990s. And in recent years, some of Ethiopia’s high-quality coffees have been selling for over three times the average export price.

So why is Ethiopia’s coffee productivity lagging behind other leading coffee-producing countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Vietnam?

The problem boils down to a lack of pruning. Almost 80% of Ethiopia’s 1 million hectares of coffee trees are underproductive because the trees are not trimmed often enough.

Photo courtesy of Etty Fidele.

Source: World Bank (link opens in a new window)

climate change, smallholder farmers, sustainable business