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August 08, 2008

Ethiopia sees benefits of trademarking coffee as prices rise

Ethiopia, Africa's largest coffee producer, earned $525.2 million in coffee exports in 2007/08, less than an expected $540.2 million, a ministry of trade official said on August 11.

"Ethiopia exported 170,888 tonnes of coffee and earned $525.2 million during June/July 2007/08 period compared with 176,390 tonnes that fetched $424.2 million in 2006/07," said Girma Gelelcha, an export officia.

"The volume exported is about 97 percent of the planned export target. Ethiopia had planned to export 227,040 tonnes of coffee and earn $540.2 million during the period."

Leading buyers of Ethiopian coffee are Germany followed by Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United States and the Netherlands, said Girma, who works for the Export Promotion Department at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He said prices of Ethiopia's coffee have shown marked improvement after the country trademarked three of its finest coffees; Sidamo, Harar and Yigraceheffe, which are now only sold by licensed distributors.

The three trademarks have been registered in 28 countries and are sold by 20 companies, 18 of them in the United States and the other two in Europe, according to government officials.
Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa with an annual production of around 330,000 tonnes, most of which is consumed locally.

The Horn of Africa country prides itself as the origin of coffee. Its beans are grown in the misty forested highlands of south western Ethiopia in a region known as Kaffa, which is said to have given its name to the plant.


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