15th African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition in Addis Ababa
The 15th African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition opened at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa on Wednesday (February 15). Organized by African Fine Coffee Association under the theme: "Reshaping the African Coffee Industry for Productivity and Investment", the event brought together more than 2000 regional and international coffee roasters, traders, producers, professionals and connoisseurs from countries all over Africa and elsewhere. The African Fine Coffee Association emphasized that the event also showcased different varieties of coffee beans, raw and roasted coffees, fine coffee, coffee materials, coffee manufacturing services, coffee packaging materials and indeed anything that related to coffee. The three days of the Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition is Africa's largest coffee trade platform and it includes panel discussions, exhibitions of specialty coffees, and various sessions and discussions aimed to enhance the sector in Africa and its competitiveness in the global market.
Opening the Conference, Ethiopia's President, Dr. Mulatu Teshome, noted that the 15th African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition would create a particularly good opportunity for Ethiopian coffee growers to promote their coffees as the conference came as they were harvesting their beans. Referring to benefits of the conference, President Mulatu also said such a platform could make a significant contribution towards generating the revenues, which Ethiopia targeted from coffee. Coffee accounts for 26% of Ethiopia's total export earnings, and the country aims earning over US$2 billion a year from the export of over 300,000 tons by the end of the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) in 2020. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Currently, the total area covered by Arabica and other types of coffee in Ethiopia is around 400,000 hectares, and total coffee production is about 200,000 tonnes of clean coffee per year. Coffee, directly or indirectly affects the livelihoods of over 15 million people in the country, and coffee production, processing and export are a major element in Ethiopia's agricultural activities, which still represents 45% of GDP, 85% of employment, and 90% of foreign exchange earnings.
The African Fine Coffee Association organizing the conference is a regional non profit, non political, member-driven association, representing the coffee sector in its member countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It plays an important role in the encouragement of the trade in coffee which is second most traded commodity in the global market after oil.
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