Coffee-novation – Green diversification of Ethiopia’s garden coffee value chain

Kafa Biosphere Reserve in Ethiopia, the origin of Arabica coffee, is increasingly challenged by the lack of sustainable employment, income and innovation for green development and adaption to the impacts of climate change. Therefore, the consortium, consisting of four commercial partners and three NGOs from the green sector, aimed at unfolding and structuring the up to now non-commercialised garden coffee value chain. The project created local self-sustaining and environmentally-friendly business models around the commercialised garden coffee value chain by developing new products (organic Kafa garden coffee, cascara, which is a coffee cherry based product and coffee husk briquettes). This contributed to increasing the market value and access of garden coffee. Ultimately income has been diversified, and jobs created. This served as an inspiring model for local development and contributed to a climate-resilient green economy in Ethiopia.

One of the Ethiopian farmers enrolled in the project is Askale. During the last year she has received training on how to improve her coffee cultivation and harvesting practices, and how to meet organic requirements and standards in order to start exporting her, and the rest of the cooperative’s coffee, to Europe. Women participation in these types of projects are is crucial as women are instrumental stakeholders in combatting poverty and addressing the biodiversity and climate crises. Above you see Askale during harvest season


Key Achievements Include:

Organic Certification & Increased Coffee Quality: Our efforts have led to the successful organic certification of 821 hectares of coffee farmland, significantly elevating coffee quality and marketability. We achieved price increases of up to 23.33%, highlighting the premium quality of Kafa coffee on both local and international markets.

Capacity Building & Sustainable Practices: We trained 1,480 farmers in sustainable agriculture and organic farming, fostering a community of practice that will sustain these techniques long-term. The establishment of nine cooperatives, now fully operational and organically certified, ensures ongoing support and governance.

Innovation in Coffee Products: The introduction of organic Kafa garden coffee, organic cascara, and coffee husk briquettes has diversified the income sources for our farmers, adding value to every part of the coffee plant and reducing waste.

Job Creation & Economic Impact: Our project has created sustainable jobs for local communities, including 35 newly trained internal inspectors and job roles in new coffee nurseries and processing facilities.

International Sales & Partnerships: In partnership with entities like Niehoffs Kaffeerösterei, we’ve launched new single-origin coffee products that have been well-received in markets such as Germany, further driving economic benefits back to the Kafa region.

Administrative Partner NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union)
Key Commercial Partner Lebensbaum
Other Partners Forests of the World (FoW), Goldkind GmbH, KFCFCU (Kafa Forest Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union), NABU Ethiopia, Twisted Leaf
Country Ethiopia
Sector Agriculture & agro-processing
Open / Closed Open
Duration July 2019 - January 2024
Approval Year 2018