August 19, 2017 – Coffe farmers in southern Ethiopia are receiving compensation for losses incurred in last year’s unrest, reports the Ethiopian weekly English newspaper the Reporter. The Ethiopian farmers are receiving compensations to the tune of 144,950,000 birr.
Home of the globally trademarked Ethiopian Yirgachefe coffee variety, Gedeo Zone, located some 410 km south of Addis Ababa, was rocked by protests that inflicted damages on coffee businesses. According to information obtained from the Gedeo Zone administration, 46 coffee processing plants were damaged. It is estimated that 121,950,000 million birr worth of property damages have directly been inflicted on both washing and dry coffee processing firms, negatively affecting Ethiopia’s coffee export. Vehicles set on fire or otherwise damaged have been valued at 21,950,000.
Sources said that the regional government has assessed impact and categorized the firms as having sustained light, medium and severe damages. Coffee experts such as Michael McIntyre, who is a coffee quality grader specializing on Ethiopian coffee, recently reported that more than 30 Ethiopian washing stations sustained irreparable damage while four processors permanently closed down shop.
Moreover, non-coffee businesses sustained damages in the form of shattered windows and storefronts. “Even worse, several Ethiopians lives were lost in these demonstrations,” McIntyre noted.
The damages have also been assessed by a task force assigned by the Office of the Prime Minister from a pool of public agencies including the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE). As per the results of the assessment, Ethiopian coffee processors have started to receive compensations from the government.
The Southern Regional State has availed a compensation package for washing stations that suffered heavily, and the latter have been allowed to process premium specialty coffees to make up for loss.
Despite disruption in the new coffee season this year, it has been reported that 23,000 tons of coffee have been supplied to the central Ethiopian market from the zone. Against all odds, Ethiopia’s coffee sector has been able to secure USD 882 million in the just-concluded Ethiopian fiscal year, a record high.
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