The International Trade Centre is collaborating with the TRAIDE Foundation and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to promote direct, long-term trade linkages between Dutch green coffee buyers and Ethiopian coffee producers.
The TRAIDE Foundation, funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acts as a convener of companies and stakeholders in Africa, linking such consortia to financing solutions. TRAIDE uses its connection to the Dutch market but is not limited to engaging exclusively with companies from the Netherlands. Currently, TRAIDE is operational in Ethiopia and Rwanda with local offices in both countries.
This month, a Dutch buyers’ tour in Ethiopia, led by ITC and TRAIDE, enabled selected green coffee buyers to meet Ethiopian coffee producers from ITC’s sustainable agribusiness Alliances for Action initiative under its Netherlands Trust Fund V programme in Ethiopia, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
By fostering relationships between buyers and producers, the goal is to lay the groundwork for long-term, direct trade linkages based on trust and mutual growth that can benefit both buyers and suppliers sustainably and in the long term.
During the tour, buyers convened in Addis Ababa before spending two days visiting the coffee farms and cooperatives of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union and the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union.
The participants inspected coffee trees and cherries during the peak of the harvest season, observed the washing and drying process that transforms cherries into green beans, and talked with union and cooperative managers. Other topics, including the new upcoming European Union Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence Directive (CS3D) and Deforestation Act, as well as concepts of direct and fair trade and specialty coffee, were addressed as well.
The tour ended with a networking event in Addis Ababa, which convened the buyers, the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, ITC-Alliances for Action’s network of Ethiopian coffee producers and other Ethiopian coffee stakeholders. Participation was high, and commercial relationships that may follow will be jointly monitored by ITC and TRAIDE through the NTFV programme.
First-hand experience is the most convincing for our buyers to understand what is happening on the ground
Here are a few testimonies from the producers and buyers on the tour:
‘A relationship based on mutual trust leads to a sustainable business environment and it binds people together in a caring relationship that goes beyond just making a profit.’
Erkehun Woldegiorgis Hirbaye, general manager of the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia
‘First-hand experience is the most convincing for our buyers to understand what is happening on the ground. Seeing is believing.’
Dejene Dadi, general manager of Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia
‘It is the dream of all of us coffee lovers, to visit the country where coffee trees grow endemically within its beautiful forests: Ethiopia. As a coffee trader, having direct experience and establishing direct connections with the farmers and the Unions of the producers of some of the best coffees in the world was an incredibly insightful experience. I am extremely thankful to TRAIDE and ITC for having given me the chance to experience this and to have facilitated these connections.’
Marco Roberti, green coffee trader, Daarnhouwer, Netherlands