The Perfect Coffee Growing Environment in Ethiopia
The potential of coffee production in Ethiopia is very high as a
result of altitude, ample rainfall, optimum temperature, suitable planting
material as well as fertile soil. Furthermore, the country is of particular
value to the world as it is the home or the origin of C. Arabica with best
inherent quality and production potential. The total area covered by coffee
is approximately 400,000 hectares, producing a total of production of
roughly 250,000 tons per annum and 25 million people depend on it.
In Ethiopia, coffee is grown at various altitudes ranging from 550-2750
meters above sea level. However, the bulk of C. arabica is produced in the
Eastern, Southern and Western parts of the country with altitudes ranging
between l300-1800 meters.
The annual rainfall in the coffee growing regions of the country varies
between 1500 and 2500 mm. However in the Eastern part of the country, the
rainfall decreases to 1000 mm per annum where it is supplemented with
irrigation. It is not only the rainfall amount which contributes to higher
production, but also its distribution over eight months. Rainfall
distribution in tbe Southern and Eastern part of the country is bimodal and
the Western part is monomodal. This distribution pattern enables the country
to harvest coffee at different times of the year which makes the supply of
fresh coffee possible all year round.
C. arabica grows best in a temperate, shady environment in the forests of
the Ethiopian highlands. The ideal temperature for C. arabica is considered
to be l5c-25c. This temperature prevails in most coffee growing areas of
Because the country is the source of C. Arabica, there is a wide variety of
characteristics to be found: disease resistance, high yield, and high
quality. This is nature's gift to Ethiopia in particular and to the world in
The soil in the Southern and Western part of the coffee growing regions of
Ethiopia is of volcanic origin with the high nutrient holding capacity of
clay minerals. All the coffee growing regions have fertile, friable loamy
soil with more than 1.5m of depth. The top soil is predominantly dark
brownish in color with a slightly sour pH. One peculiar thing about the soil
is that its fertility is maintained by organic recycling. Enough organic
material is added to the soil through litter fall, pruning and root residue
from the perennial coffee trees.
Furthermore, the small coffee farmers, who are the major producers, use
organic fertilisers to supplement the natural fertility of the soil.
Moreover, as close to 50% of the natural production is consumed locally,
representing the highest national consumption in any producing country,
local consumers insist on top quality and would never accept the use of
chemical inputs. Most buyers know that the bulk of coffee produced in
Ehtiopia qualifies itself as organic.