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Structure and Performance of Ethiopia’s Coffee Export Sector


  • Minten, Bart
  • Tamru, Seneshaw
  • Kuma, Tadesse
  • Nyarko, Yaw


We study the structure and performance of the coffee export sector in Ethiopia, Africa’s most important coffee producer, over the period 2003 to 2013. We find an evolving policy environment leading to structural changes in the export sector, including an elimination of vertical integration for most exporters. Ethiopia’s coffee export earn-ings improved dramatically over this period, i.e. a four-fold real increase. This has mostly been due to increases in international market prices. Quality improved only slightly over time, but the quantity exported increased by 50 percent, seemingly explained by increased domestic supplies as well as reduced local consumption. To further improve export performance, investments to increase the quantities produced and to improve quality are needed, including an increase in washing, certification, and traceability, as these characteristics are shown to be associ-ated with significant quality premiums in international markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Minten, Bart & Tamru, Seneshaw & Kuma, Tadesse & Nyarko, Yaw, 2014. "Structure and Performance of Ethiopia’s Coffee Export Sector," 2014: Food, Resources and Conflict, December 7-9, 2014. San Diego, California 197157, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iats14:197157
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.197157

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aslihan Arslan & Christopher P. Reicher, 2011. "The Effects of the Coffee Trademarking Initiative and Starbucks Publicity on Export Prices of Ethiopian Coffee," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies, vol. 20(5), pages 704-736, November.
    2. M. Laura Donnet & Dave D. Weatherspoon & John P. Hoehn, 2008. "Price determinants in top‐quality e‐auctioned specialty coffees," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(3), pages 267-276, May.
    3. Donnet, M. Laura & Weatherspoon, Dave D. & Hoehn, John P., 2007. "What Adds Value in Specialty Coffee? Managerial Implications from Hedonic Price Analysis of Central and South American E-Auctions," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, vol. 10(3), pages 1-18.
    4. Pradyot Ranjan Jena & Bezawit Beyene Chichaibelu & Till Stellmacher & Ulrike Grote, 2012. "The impact of coffee certification on small-scale producers’ livelihoods: a case study from the Jimma Zone, Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43(4), pages 429-440, July.
    5. Stifel, David & Woldehanna, Tassew, 2014. "Utility-consistent poverty in Ethiopia, 2000-11: Welfare improvements in a changing economic landscape," WIDER Working Paper Series 125, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Arslan, Aslıhan & Reicher, Christopher Phillip, 2010. "The effects of the Coffee Trademarking Initiative and Starbucks publicity on export prices of Ethiopian coffee," Kiel Working Papers 1606, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
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    Cited by:

    1. Tadesse Kuma & Mekdim Dereje & Kalle Hirvonen & Bart Minten, 2019. "Cash Crops and Food Security: Evidence from Ethiopian Smallholder Coffee Producers," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(6), pages 1267-1284, June.
    2. Minten, Bart & Assefa, Thomas & Hirvonen, Kalle, 2017. "Can Agricultural Traders be Trusted? Evidence from Coffee in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 77-88.
    3. Assefa, Thomas Woldu & Minten, Bart, 2015. "Can agricultural traders be trusted? Evidence from urban coffee markets in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 72, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Abebe Negeri Shonte & Quan Ji, 2022. "Management Commitment and Sustainable Coffee Export Performance, Evidence from Ethiopian Companies: The Mediating Role of Corporate Social Responsibility," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(19), pages 1-19, October.
    5. Minten, Bart & Dereje, Mekdim & Engida, Ermias & Kuma, Tadesse, 2019. "Coffee value chains on the move: Evidence in Ethiopia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 370-383.
    6. Nyarko, Yaw & Pellegrina, Heitor S., 2022. "From bilateral trade to centralized markets: A search model for commodity exchanges in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    7. Andersson, Camilla & Bezabih, Mintewab & Mannberg, Andrea, 2017. "The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange and spatial price dispersion," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 1-11.
    8. Kebede,Hundanol Atnafu, 2021. "The Pass-Through of International Commodity Price Shocks to Producers’ Welfare : Evidence from EthiopianCoffee Farmers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9839, The World Bank.
    9. Gáfaro, Margarita & Pellegrina, Heitor S., 2022. "Trade, farmers’ heterogeneity, and agricultural productivity: Evidence from Colombia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    10. Tröster, Bernhard, 2015. "Global commodity chains, financial markets, and local market structures: Price risks in the coffee sector in Ethiopia," Working Papers 56, Austrian Foundation for Development Research (ÖFSE).

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