Linking Smallholders in Ethiopia and Rwanda to Higher Value Coffee Markets

  • Date Posted: June 2, 2010
  • Authors: Stephen McCarthy
  • Organizations/Projects: ACDI/VOCA
  • Document Types: Evidence or Research, Other
  • Donor Type: U.S. Agency for International Development

Steve McCarthy presented, "Linking Smallholders in Ethiopia and Rwanda to Higher Value Coffee Markets." The seminar was the 31st installment of the Linking Small Firms to Competitiveness Strategies Breakfast Seminar Series sponsored by the USAID Microenterprise Development office.

Mr. McCarthy's presentation focused on a value-chain approach employed by ACDI/VOCA in Ethiopia to address the major constraints of the coffee industry. In particular, emphasis was placed on strengthening the cooperation between small-scale producers as well as establishing cooperative unions to achieve the economies of scale needed to reach international markets. There were profound constraints in the industry at the start of the project, but an opportunity arose when the government of Ethiopia removed the requirement for cooperatives to sell all coffee through the national auction. This, in turn, allowed for direct export sales. A new highly efficient market channel for specialty coffee resulted from the facilitation of direct exports and technical assistance in production, processing, and exporting procedures. Mr. McCarthy also discussed a case in Rwanda and the success that has resulted from the re-building of coffee washing stations. He concluded the seminar with a number of key lessons learned.

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