ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — Attracting regional and international coffee roasters, traders, producers, professionals and connoisseurs, the 15th edition of African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition kicked off in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday.
With the objective of reshaping African coffee industry, the three-day event from Feb. 15 to 17 is expected to have intensive discussions on policy and trade development across the African coffee value chain.
The African Fine Coffee Association (AFCA) and the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Development and Marketing Authority, have co-hosted the event under the theme, “Reshaping African Coffee Industry for Productivity and Investment.”
The participants are also expected to discuss ways of boosting coffee production on the African continent, and the exhibitors from across the world showcase their coffee products, machinery and packaging facilities, among others.
The conference is a buyer-oriented event which brings together buyers from all over the world to build key trading relationships and discuss issues impacting on production, trading environment and policy interventions necessary to grow the coffee industry worldwide, according to the organizers.
The event is also expected to provide an opportunity for business-to-business engagements and for buyers to taste best coffee from Ethiopia and the rest of Africa.
Officially opening the event, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome reiterated that his government attaches great importance to the coffee industry as it is backbone of the country’s commodities export.
“Around 20 million people are directly or indirectly deriving their livelihoods from coffee. Hence, as major agricultural export product, it generates about 26 percent of Ethiopia’s total export earnings. Ethiopia is the largest producer of coffee in Africa and the fifth largest coffee producer in the world, next to Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, and Indonesia, contributing from 7 to 10 percent of total world coffee production,” noted the president.
It has been recognized that new markets have been identified in order to benefit coffee farmers and also to encourage all stakeholders in coffee industry, according to the president.
“In this regard, China, Russia, Middle East, and the Far East economies, Australia, and consuming African countries of Algeria, Tunisia, and Sudan among others offer a lucrative option and price incentives to the Ethiopian coffee,” he said.
Bagersh Abdullah, Board Chairman of African Fine Coffee Association (AFCA), stated that African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition has become one of the top events in the world.
“This conference has a lot of value because we are at the beginning of the coffee season and I am hoping that by being here the delegates the buyers, many, many buyers are here will have the chance to see, believe and taste the coffees and we are going to ship first class coffee out of Ethiopia this year,” he said.
Eyasu Abraha, Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said on his part that the government has been taking various measures to tap Ethiopia’s huge potential in the sector and boost coffee productivity in the country.
“Ethiopia has a huge potential to increase coffee due to processing, suitable climate, soil, indigenous planting material, and sufficient rainfalls in coffee growing belts of the country. To this end, government is committed to more than ever before to tap the huge potential that exists to increase coffee productivity through undertaking research and development interventions.”
African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) is an association with coffee sectors in 11 member countries, namely Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Over 100 exhibitors participate in the exhibition showcasing their coffee products, machinery, and packaging among others, according to the organizers.