By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s exports fell short of target in the first half of its fiscal year when coffee, oil seed and flower sales missed forecasts, trade data obtained by Reuters showed on Friday.
The Horn of Africa nation projects it will earn $3 billion in export revenue for 2010/11 (July-June) after a resurgence of coffee sales and diversification into new commodities earned $2 billion in the previous year.
Coffee earnings in Africa’s biggest exporter of the beans hit $320 million from the export of 95,102 tonnes, compared with a target of 105,793 tonnes, or $328 million in sales, according to the ministry of trade.
The country targets $939.5 million in coffee exports this year, nearly double the $528 million it earned during the 2009/2010 fiscal year.
Flower exports during the first half missed a target of $100.9 million, earning $76.5 million.
Investments into the sector have increased in recent years with incentives such as tax holidays, 35-year leases for land, and relatively low rates for renting land attracting increasing amounts of foreign businesses.
Exports of oil seeds also missed the target, hitting $102.8 million instead of $133.8 million for the period. Ethiopia is the world’s fourth-largest sesame exporter after China, India and Myanmar.
GOLD OVERTAKES OIL SEEDS
Gold exports overtook oil seeds as the second largest source of revenue during the first six months with exports topping $179 million, exceeding a target of $158 million.
The country has made $450.5 million from about 48 tonnes of gold exports in the last 10 years, according to the central National Bank of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s exports during the half-year period were also boosted by the rising sales of khat, a narcotic leaf popular in the region.
The commodity brought in $126 million in exports during the first six months of 2010/2011, beating a target of $119.6 million. Khat exports fetched $209 million the whole of last year.