Midyear coffee export stunted at 350 million
Aiming at introducing additional new trademarked wild and organic coffee from Ethiopia the Japanese Ueshima Coffee Company (UCC) has launched and held the first coffee quality contest among Ethiopian coffee varieties.
Masaro Ueshima, President of UCC, told The Reporter that the quality contest dubbed: “The First UCC Coffee Quality Contest in Ethiopia” is aimed at increasing Ethiopia’s coffee quality via training and helping farmers. Ueshima said that UCC group, which has 65 subsidiaries around world, is currently buying some eight thousand tons of coffee from Ethiopia. “Everyone knows that Ethiopian coffee is special. What we request is the stability of the quality. Some of the coffee lots we receive are not good. Therefore, we want to support efforts to sustain the quality,” the president said.
In Japan and across the world, UCC has some 800 coffee shops which roast a wide variety of coffees among which Ethiopia’s specialty and regular coffees are the major ones. Ethiopian coffee as it is most popular in Japan, such contests which was held in China, Hawaii, Jamaica, Vietnam, and Brazil by UCC is believed to have an uplifting impact on the standard and quality. According to a statement sent from the Japan Embassy in Ethiopia, UCC’s coffee contests around the world have helped farmers improve coffee cultivation techniques and quality. That in turn helped to boost income.
In Ethiopia, since 2003, through a joint project with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UCC has been involved in the preservation of the Belete Gera forest in Jimma Zone of the Oromia Regional State, which is home for the Belete Gera Coffee brand which UCC is eyeing to promote as one of the coffee brands from Ethiopia.
Subsequently, the UCC sponsored coffee quality contest held at the embassy of Japan on Friday brought up six best coffee verities. Out of the six contenders, three from Gujji Zone of the Oromia Regional State have won the fifth, the fourth and the first places to receive 10, 15 and 30 percent premium prices over and above the market price, respectively.
The President also noted that UCC has an established relationship with Ethiopia since 1965, at a time where the grandfather of Ueshima who is also the founder of the company was still the chairman. Employing 4,385 employees worldwide, UCC registered three billion dollars annual revenue last year. Back in 2014, the coffee mogul was able to transact 185, 000 tons of coffee across the world.
In-a-related news, coffee has generated some USD 350 million in revenue in the first half of the current fiscal year, far below its target set for period. According to the overall USD 879 million target set for the period, at least USD 400 million should have been by midyear.
However, the performance in volume was encouraging with 104,000 tons of coffee hiting the international markets in the period in question. Getahun Bikora, Director of coffee marketing directorate at Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, told The Reporter that the export target set for the year stands at 206, 000 tons out of which half has already been shipped out of the country in the past six months.
However, Getahun fears that the trends in the international market might affect the 879 million dollars export targets that set for the whole year.
Getahun explained that Germany, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Japan, U.S.A and Belgium are the top five buyers accounting 40 percent of the total export. Out of these countries, Japan buys some 20 thousand tons per year, generating USD 87 million is considered to be a huge purchase after the 2008 pesticide crisis.