Hosting the 15th edition of the African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition, members of the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) expressed that the turnout of the event was promising in attracting more businesses to local exporters.
As one of the globally recognized annual coffee event, which was held at the Millennium Hall since Sunday and concluded Friday, the Africa Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition was able to attract some 1,000 participants from across the global.
Abdella Bagerish, the departing chairman of AFCA and the General Manager of SA Bagerish Business PLC, one of a well-established coffee companies in the country, told The Reporter that the AFCA conference surely helps local exporters and growers to have firsthand contact with potential buyers.
At the official opening of the conference held on Wednesday, President Mulatu Teshome (PhD) said that Ethiopia has been ranked the largest coffee producer in the continent and the fifth in the world with a ten percent share. Some 20 million households depend on coffee for a living. The president mentioned that coffee contributes six percent of the GDP.
However, the volatile nature and the recent political turmoil in the country have greatly hampered the contribution of coffee to the economy.
According to Abdella, the AFCA conference served as a platform to showcase that the country has normalized situations that many buyers thought would be difficult. He also mentioned that the new season is coming for coffee harvest so that the event comes at an opportune time for Ethiopia.
According to the recent report released by the Coffee and Tea Development and Marketing Authority, some 85,425 tons of coffee was shipped out in the first half of the current fiscal year. The exported coffee fetched some 315 million dollars during the same period. Both the export value and the volume have slid from the targets. Some 98.5 thousand tons was expected to be exported to generate USD 385 million. But Abdella and fellow exporters are buoyant to see positive outcomes in the coming months as global prices are witnessing gradual pick.
During the opening, David Moorhouse, acting executive director of the International Coffee Organization (ICO), paid tribute and commemorated Roberio Oliveria Silva, the late executive director. Silva visited Ethiopia and attended the international coffee conference the country organized last year. His unexpected death was announced late in December.