Coffee and Economics: The Numbers #1

May 19, 2015 2
Photo of hands holding coffee cherries Photos by Victor Biro

Ethiopia has a population of about 97 million people and its economy (measured as Gross Domestic Product, or GDP) is growing strongly at about 7%. That’s the 24th highest in the world.

Agriculture is the most important sector in Ethiopia’s economy and coffee is one of the country’s most important exports.

Coffee production in Ethiopia for the 2013/2014 harvest – the season is counted as running from October 2013 to September 2014 – was 6.6 million bags, according to estimates from the International Coffee Organization (ICO).

The Sidama coffee region, where the Water Wise Coffee wet mills are located, is famous for its coffee. Wet mill processing, however, is not the only way to produce coffee – in other areas coffee producers use the traditional dry hulling method, where the coffee cherries are left out in the sun to dry before the bean is removed.

Awasa, ETH., 25 Nov 2014 -

In fact, dry hulling is a more common method for processing coffee. Figures from the ICO show that about 60% of Ethiopia’s coffee comes from dry hulling, and only about 40% comes from wet mill processing.

About half of the coffee produced goes to the domestic market in Ethiopia, which is a high number for a coffee-producing country. And the final figure of note is that in terms of total global coffee production Ethiopia is not a large exporter, in fact it is only the fifth largest. You can see that illustrated on a map of coffee suppliers here, while the figures the map is based on are available here.

Ethiopia supplies hundreds of times less coffee to the world market than Brazil or Indonesia. That comes despite having the best tasting coffee in the world… Okay, that last bit is our opinion not a statistic!

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