Interview: Ethiopian firm eyes potential of Chinese coffee market

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Israel Degfa, the CEO of Kerchanshe Trading Private Limited Company, speaks during an event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sept. 8, 2022. The emerging Chinese coffee market has offered "big opportunities" for export-driven coffee producers in Ethiopia and elsewhere around the globe, Israel Degfa told Xinhua in an interview. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The emerging Chinese coffee market has offered "big opportunities" for export-driven coffee producers in Ethiopia and elsewhere around the globe, Israel Degfa, the CEO of Kerchanshe Trading Private Limited Company (PLC), told Xinhua in an interview.

Figures from the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA) showed that China imported 5,879.34 metric tons of Ethiopian coffee valued at 30.4 million U.S. dollars during the 2021/2022 fiscal year that ended on July 7, up by 31 percent from the same period of the previous year.

"Honestly, it (the Chinese coffee market) is a new opportunity for world coffee consumption," Israel said.

"We are looking at the Chinese market focused. The potential is there," he said.

"In China, every year, our exports are making double and double, a 100 percent growth," Israel said, adding that his company, Ethiopia's largest coffee producer and exporter, plans to expand its exports to China.

China has become the eighth largest importer of Ethiopian coffee during the first ten months of the 2021/2022 fiscal year, according to ECTA.

Israel, who is from a coffee farmer's family, said that coffee quality and flavors are the results of dedicated scientific endeavors and processes, saying his company operates vigorously to ensure quality and comes up with ever-improved coffee varieties to meet the expectation of international buyers.

Kerchanshe is producing and exporting different varieties of coffee by operating more than 63 washing stations, 56,000 out-growers, and also 1,500 hectares of land dedicated to research and development of improved varieties of coffee.

"Our company is focused and working, in the last eight years, in agri-business, mainly coffee and other fruits as well," Israel said.

According to Israel, his company will significantly increase its coffee export value in the 2022/2023 fiscal year that started on July 8.

Ethiopia, Africa's biggest coffee producer, exported 300,000 metric tons of coffee during the last 12 months, eventually generating 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in revenue, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Compared with an average coffee export yearly earnings, the country generated additional revenue of 500 million U.S. dollars during the just concluded fiscal year with a growing export volume to the global coffee market. ■

Israel Degfa, the CEO of Kerchanshe Trading Private Limited Company, speaks during an event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sept. 8, 2022. The emerging Chinese coffee market has offered "big opportunities" for export-driven coffee producers in Ethiopia and elsewhere around the globe, Israel Degfa told Xinhua in an interview. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

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