Ethiopian Coffee Cooperatives
Description/achievement of initiative

In 2001 Ethiopia's Federal Cooperative Commission opened its coffee export market to direct participation of producer communities.

Source: World Resources Institute (2011) A Compilation of Green Economy Policies, Programs, and Initiatives from Around the World. The Green Economy in Practice: Interactive Workshop 1, February 11th, 2011

Coffee exports account for a third of Ethiopia's total export income. In 2001, the Ethiopian government modified its coffee marketing regulations, permitting coffee grower cooperatives to sell directly to export markets. Prior to that time, all coffee had to be sold through the national exchange, a requirement that resulted in mixing high- and low-quality beans, yielding a uniformly low price. Coffee cooperative unions have been able to negotiate fairtrade agreements with developed countries.Financial support is being provided by the International Labour Office for research and comprehensive training and education for Ethiopian cooperative leaders, particularly women and youths. Thanks for the project, producers have improved their product quality and learned to differentiate the finest quality beans allowing them to enter the specialty coffee market and command prices that are often several times higher than under the previous system.

The following are the benefits of the project:

  • Improved economic benefits for small producers, who grow 94% of all Ethiopian coffee beans;

  • Promotion of fairtrade and organic coffee through coffee union encourages environmentally-sound production techniques;

  • Many cooperatives have used their earnings to invest in local infrastructure projects such as roads, power lines, healthcare facilities, and schools.

Implementation methodologies

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure


Progress reports
Goal 8

Basic information
Time-frame: - 2001
Contact information
United Nations