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February 01, 2012

Ethiopian coffee exports in sharp decline

Halfway into Ethiopia's fiscal year, only about 20% of the targeted 270,000 tonne coffee export has been shipped.

There is some confusion about the cause of the sharp decline in exports.

About 100 coffee exporters have been suspended from buying coffee from the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange for periods ranging from three to six months by the government, over allegations that they engaged in speculative hoarding of the country's key export.

Analysts say other changes demanded by the government in the trade of coffee, which would effectively require exporters to invest in storage silos, are impractical.

Others maintain the real problem is simply that the US$2.40+/kg price of coffee at the commodity exchange is higher than the international price (New York) of US$2.20/kg. 

According to Addis Fortune website, Ethiopia earned $314 million in the last six months from coffee exports a  6.28 per cent decline over the same period a year ago, quoting figures compiled by the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA).

Addis Fortune says Ethiopia exported 196,118 tonnes of coffee valued at $841.7 million dollars in 2010/11, representing more than half of the 370,569 tonne of total production in the country. The rest is used locally.

Talks between government and traders to break the export impasse are on-going, but have yet to yield any concrete results

African Agriculture

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