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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ዶ/ር ቤታና ሆጤሶ በሲዳማ ታሪክ ላይ ያደረጉት ወይይት፦

Dr Betana Hoxesso Sidama Liberation Front Vice Chair Person discuss about Sidama history 




An interview with Ashenafi Argaw, an export manager for the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, revealed the toll coffee has had on farmers and the rest of the population. He quotes a farmer telling him, “I depend on coffee for all clothing, food, to pay taxes and medical expenses. Our lives depend on coffee. . . Ten years ago I was producing seven sacks of red cherry, and this was enough to buy clothes, medicines and services. But now, even if I sell four times as much, it is impossible to cover all my expenses . . . Three of the children can’t go to school now because I can’t afford the uniform . . . We have stopped buying teff and edible oil. We are eating just mainly corn.”

The Toll of Coffee on Ethiopia’s Trade and More


The overall trade of Ethiopia is suffering profusely. They have an incredibly high trade deficit of -2810.70 US Million (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ethiopia/balance-of-trade). The current environmental and political status of the country is working against its trade. Ethiopia is one of the few African countries that does not have oil and is not rich in natural resources. The country relies on the export of primary resources as means of sustaining the economy. The resource that the country relies on the most for economic development is coffee. Coffee has always been Ethiopia’s strongest resource. Many people consider Ethiopia as the birth place of this resource. It is the only place where coffee plants have been found to grow natively. According to Economic Watch’s article, “Ethiopia Trade, Exports and Imports”, coffee counts for about 65% of the country’s foreign exchange. The article also claims that coffee “engages almost 25% of the working population and contributes 10% to the national production data”. Even though Ethiopia has been benefiting from this crop, it still remains as one of the poorest countries in Africa.
Coffee has been exploited by foreign investors and companies. Farms and workers continue to be paid slave labor wages. The Ethiopian economy does not gain nearly enough capital from export sales. One high profile company that is caught in claims of exploiting workers is none-other than the beloved Starbucks. The Ethiopian government has been working to trademark three types of coffee beans, but Starbucks has been working against this and has in turn denied farmers about $90 million a year(http://www.economist.com/node/8355026).
Ashenafi Argaw, an export manager for the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
photo from SGI Quarterly.org
Due to social and political conflicts in the country, coffee prices dropped greatly in 1998 and struggled to become revived. Many farmers had to abandon land and head to the cities. Some farmers were forced to take up different work like cotton and sesame farming because they were unable to afford production of coffee. An interview with Ashenafi Argaw, an export manager for the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, revealed the toll coffee has had on farmers and the rest of the population. He quotes a farmer telling him, “I depend on coffee for all clothing, food, to pay taxes and medical expenses. Our lives depend on coffee. . . Ten years ago I was producing seven sacks of red cherry, and this was enough to buy clothes, medicines and services. But now, even if I sell four times as much, it is impossible to cover all my expenses . . . Three of the children can’t go to school now because I can’t afford the uniform . . . We have stopped buying teff and edible oil. We are eating just mainly corn.” (http://www.sgiquarterly.org/feature2006Oct-7.html) The coffee industry has also destroyed a lot of the rainforests that still exist in the country known for it’s droughts. But there has been an even greater development of conservation initiatives started by major coffee producers as well as other crop producers.
Ethiopians rely heavily on unofficial means of cross-border trading as well. Around $250-$300 million US is made yearly through cross border trade (Sara Pavanello: Working across borders – Harnessing the potential of cross-border activities to improve livelihood security in the Horn of Africa drylands. London: Overseas Development Institute). They trade different livestock such as cattle, camels, sheep, and goats with countries like Somalia and Djibouti, and Kenya. This level of trade is headed by nomadic pastoralists. This trades helps with border relations, lowers food prices, and helps increase food security. Trade has sculpted borders in the sense that some indigenous communities are allowed to travel where the general population cannot. In vice versa, tension has arisen due to countries disliking this unauthorized travel.
The Ethiopian online newspaper called News Business Ethiopia posted an interesting article about the role of trade for small, marginalized tribes like the Shekas and Menjas. These tribes have been forced to live in dense forest in Ethiopia. They have been forced to adapt to a pastoralist lifestyle to survived. The Menjas’ have survived on trading charcoal and firewood with the Shekas. Gradually their lifestyles are degrading the environment because they are clearing a lot of trees for firewood. Efforts to change this means of trade in order to preserve the environment has resulted in organizations teaching the tribes how to grow their own crops. These crops can will ultimately be used for trade. Critics wonder if this push for change is more for the benefit of spreading modernization.
Source:http://wordpress.clarku.edu/id252-ethiopia/2014/09/30/the-toll-of-coffee-on-ethiopias-trade-and-more/