The project, which is supported by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation with a budget of €2.5m,will be implemented by UNIDO in partnership with Illycaffè and the Ernesto Illy Foundation, and in close synergy with Ethiopian institutions, including the recently established Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Development and Marketing Authority.
The project will be implemented in Addis Ababa, and in two regional states, Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ (SNNP) Region, over three years. Its aim is to increase the quality, traceability and international recognition of Ethiopian coffee in order to raise coffee export revenues and the incomes of smallholder farmers.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Giuseppe Mistretta, Ambassador of Italy to Ethiopia, said that “Italy is investing important resources in the economic development of Ethiopia through the support for agricultural value chains (durum wheat, tomato and coffee) and agro-industry. We see agricultural and industrial development as strongly related. I appreciate the collaboration with Illycaffè and their effort to promote Ethiopian coffee.”
Gustavo Aishemberg, UNIDO Representative and Director of the Regional Office in Ethiopia, said that the project will improve the Ethiopian coffee supply chain value and enhance the inclusiveness and the integration of all the Ethiopian coffee sector stakeholders.
Sani Redi, Director General of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Development and Marketing Authority, who was also present at the signing ceremony, voiced his appreciation for the Government of Italy‟s support for the Ethiopian coffee sector. He stated that the Authority is working closely with UNIDO to ensure the project‟s sustainability and effectiveness.
Ginevra Letizia, head of the Addis Ababa Office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, underlined the Office’s continuing support for the development of the coffee value chain in Ethiopia. “The coffee value chain is very important for this country. Coffee is a treasure of the culture of Ethiopia and it is a duty to improve the coffee production. The genetic variety is the most important in the world and the government strategy rightly stresses the importance of improving the traceability and the quality of Ethiopian coffee”, she added.
This initiative, which is in line with Ethiopia‟s Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII), will implement strategic activities to support smallholder farmers and cooperatives through the introduction of “Best Agronomical Practices” to increase yields, through technical skills transfer and the provision of practical tool boxes for an optimized post-harvest process, washing station infrastructures, and cupping laboratories, and through the dissemination of modern marketing techniques.
In addition, the technical capacities of the Coffee and Tea Development and Marketing Authority will receive support and the first coffee roasting training centre will be established in Addis Ababa with a view to improving local expertise and upgrading the country‟s roasted coffee production capacity.
The partnership-based approach defines concrete working models of cooperation between governments, stakeholders, donors, private sector actors and UNIDO. Notably, Illycaffè and the Ernesto Illy Foundation will support the initiative and will work jointly with the project‟s partners to upscale local capacities and knowledge of the coffee value chain, as well as serving as trading facilitators and advisors.
It is expected that the project will improve coordination among all the actors involved in the coffee value chain, and raise the quantity and quality of exported coffee, leading to an increased presence of Ethiopian coffee on the international market. (@OnuItalia)