What has been described as a ground-breaking development in Ethiopia has opened opportunities for Ethiopian coffee farmers to sell coffee direct to roasters, outside the Ethiopian Coffee Exchange (ECX).
Under the existing law in Ethiopia, all privately-owned washing stations (the primary processors that turn freshly harvested coffee-cherries produced by smallholder farmers into parchment coffee) have to sell parchment coffee at the ECX. Established in 2008, the ECX was intended to reduce price volatility and incentivize farmers to plant crops. However, the loss of traceability at the ECX did not meet consumer’s demand for traceable, farmer-specific or organic certified coffees.
Green coffee trader Trabocca said that, in early April, it was confirmed that, in collaboration with the coffee board, the Ethiopian government has approved a trial that will allow coffee to be sold outside the ECX, starting 30 April 2017.
Exporters in possession of a valid export license will be allowed to sell directly to international buyers, under the condition that trucks of parchment coffee will be sold within three days of arriving at the processing warehouses in the capital. If the coffee remains unsold after three days, it will be sold on the existing ECX platform, but with traceability intact.