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Ethiopian Agriculture

Ethiopia is a country with a total area of 1.14 million square kilometers, of which 66% is suitable for agriculture and with 3.7 million hectare being suitable for irrigated agriculture.

Ethiopia has diversified climate (covering 18 major agro-ecological zones and 62 subzones) suitable for growing over 146 types of crops. It has a temperate climate in the highlands, hot climate in the lowlands, with temperature ranging from 10 โ€“ 300C, and rain fall ranging from 200-2000 mm per year.

Agriculture is the largest sector in the Ethiopian economy, accounting for about 34.9% of GDP and employing 83% of the labor force. More than 80% of export earns from agriculture. The major agricultural export crop is coffee. Other traditional major agricultural exports are spice, leather, hides and skins, pulses and oilseeds. Sugar and gold production has also become important in recent years.

Ethiopian coffee

Ethiopia is the motherland of Coffee Arabica. It is endowed with a rich variety of coffee and its diverse origins. Ethiopian coffee is rich with original flavor and aroma because of the geographical (altitude, soil, temperature, rainfall, topography, ecology), genotypic and cultural variety within the country. Coffee has been growing in Ethiopia for thousands of years, in the forests of southwestern highlands. The word coffee drives from Kaffa, name of a place in the South Western Ethiopian highlands where coffee was first discovered. It is also known to be the first Coffee Arabica exporter in Africa and is currently the fifth largest coffee producer in the world.

The most famous story was that of the goat herd, Kaldi (who lived around 9th century) who observed his normally docile goats had suddenly behaved exceptionally lively, skipping, rearing and bleating loudly after eating the bright red berries from a shiny dark-leaved shrub nearby and that Kaldi tried a few berries himself and soon felt extraordinary, stimulated or a novel sense of elation. Ethiopian cultural ceremonies and rituals were using the beans in early periods of domestication as a stimulant and a special solid food, for instance, the ripe berries were squashed, combined with animal fats and shaped in to balls, which can be carried and eaten during the long journey since the time immemorial by Oromo people.

Ethiopia is endowed with an ideal production environment for growing coffee with a combination of appropriate altitude, temperature, rainfall, soil type and its PH value. Ethiopia, being the epicenter of the origin for Coffee Arabica, possesses a diverse genetic base. Ethiopia produces a range of distinctive Arabica coffees and has considerable potential to sell a large number of selections of specialty coffee. Ethiopian coffee produces hard-type coffee beans, with intense flavors and aromatics. Fruit flavors are common in all regions, though the specific fruit character varies from region to region. Berry aromatics are relatively common, as are citrus and chocolate. Basically, Ethiopian coffee is organically produced and it is low yielding with highest cup quality.

Gera, land of honey and coffee

Present-day Gera is a district in western Ethiopia whose borders roughly match those of an old kingdom of the same name that existed here almost 200 years ago. One of the five ancient Oromo kingdoms of the Gibe area, Gera was renowned for its exquisite honey. The golden liquid is still an important product of the area, but today, so is coffee.

Gera district is a high-altitude location, with some spots well over 2000 meters above sea level. In addition, over half the land is old, untouched forest. The combination makes for a location that is well suited for coffee trees, and in fact, there are many that grow naturally here. The Gera coffee farm sits on 1000 hectares of this beautiful area with most of the land between 1780 to 2100 meters above sea level.

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