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coffee in Ethiopia under threat

Comments

  • Not much news there A. I'm afraid. Harrar as a varietal from Ethiopia has been in significant decline for the last 15 years. Just over a decade ago, many roasters would hunt high and low for good Harrar but as it's scarce and relatively low quality, hence roasters simply ignore Harrar as it's possible to source decent Djimmah and Sidamo naturals as alternatives. The days of the magical and mythical Harrar are gone. Overall, the story of coffee in Ethiopia is not a good tale. Yes, drought is hitting hard, ports are notoriously bad in productivity (sometimes Ethiopian coffees are shipped out of other countries to avoid the disasters in their own port). Yes, land used for coffee is being deployed for alternate crops and yes their local consumption and domestic demand is far higher than any other coffee growing origins. The price of Ethiopians keeps rising, as do Sumatrans (they are just incredibly difficult and expensive to source) and Kenyans (ditto) in line with the strong demand and short supply. These days Ethiopia is a feature coffee and it's role in mainstay blends is declining - roasters can't afford to pay the high prices, nor do they want to deal with the inconsistent qualities. Great coffees can be found in many places, not just Ethiopia.
  • The real problem with Ethiopia is deforestation and overpopulation. The same applies to many other countries, but it is politically incorrect to state the truth. Ethiopia has a current population of 107 million. If you look at population statistics, you will find that its population has doubled every 23 years (approximately). This is unsustainable. In the early 90's its population was in the 50 million range, more than double that of Australia. It suffered severe drought back then, and will continue to experience drought in the future. Can this country cope with a population increase of 2.5 million people every year?
  • Political instability is obviously a huge problem too, but when you’re facing the issues mentioned above it’s no great surprise really.
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