Changes are coming to the Ethiopian coffee market. Often plagued with traceability issues due in no small part to the mandatory role the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) plays in exporting green coffee, the Ethiopian Parliament have approved measures “designed to reform the entire coffee market value chain,” according to Addis Fortune. And these measures are a boon for traceability.
Historically, knowing to the farm level where a coffee came from has been near impossible. As the article notes, exporters have often claimed that “coffee has been deliberately and un-deliberately mixed at the warehouses of ECX.” It’s why Bethany Hargrove’s use of a single producer Ethiopian coffee for her 2017 US Barista Championship routine–one that earned her and Wrecking Ball Coffee fifth place—was a pretty big deal.
But this new measure from the Ethiopian government has “reduced the role of the ECX in trading coffee” by allowing coffee growers to sell their coffee before it even reaches the ECX floor. The article notes that all contracts would still be signed at the ECX, but that “the reform will ensure the traceability of coffee and cut the cost and time spent in the market by half, according to the attached document with the proclamation.” Additionally, the proclamation includes an amendment whereby a coffee’s origin will be included in contractual agreements.
These measures were taken due to growing concern over the effects of illegal trading and an extended value chain. “Despite the fact that the volume of exported coffee has been growing at an annual average growth rate of eight percent over the past five years,” the article states, “coffee proceeds have fallen by three percent annually since 2010/11.” Along with the other measures, the new proclamation also includes fines and imprisonment for anyone found trading coffee outside of the new law.
For the end user–the coffee drinker–this new measure means more transparency in the coffee they are consuming. It means knowing the exact farm in Ethiopia where the coffee was grown. For more information on new mandate, read the full article in Addis Fortune.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*top image via Coffee Shrub