Several humanitarian groups have worked together to secure funding for a new coffee processing facility that will employ nearly 200 people in the district of Hambela in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, near Yirgacheffe.
The facility will be operated by the Ethiopian coffee group METAD, which hopes to develop the facility with a “seed-to-cup” approach that will improve access and quality to farmers and facilitate distribution opportunities. Funding for the project was provided by the East Coast Impact Angel Network, and facilitated by The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Agricultural Growth Program, which aims to develop industry growth in areas where food and medical supplies are limited.
The agencies say the facility will employ about 30 full-time workers and about 160 part-time workers, 70 percent of whom will be women, while affecting some 400 local farm workers. METAD’s Addis Ababa-based laboratory was recently the first in Africa certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
“We are grateful for the support from USAID and the EIAN, and we are eager to use this investment to continue building Ethiopia’s reputation in the specialty coffee market,” said METAD CEO Aman Adinew.
RENEW, a group that facilitates investments in emerging economies, first brought together METAD and the EIAN team in June of 2013 for a tour of the mountainous coffeelands in Hambela to evaluate existing and potential washing and drying capacity.
“We all experience coffee from the consumer end, so this investment in Ethiopian specialty coffee has natural appeal to me,” said Dr. Andrew Umhau of EIAN “I had the opportunity to experience the entire coffee supply chain first hand in Ethiopia—from coffee bush to macchiato. The METAD management team understands coffee in Ethiopia, so we have great confidence in this venture.”