Although the central Government is yet to announce official Referendum results, media outlets have published a figure of 98% in favour of establishing a separate region for Sidama, therefore we are expecting that Sidama will, in time, become the 10th administrative region of Ethiopia; in our view a positive step for harmony within the country. Since the referendum on the 20th of November the area has remained calm and if this is any indication for the upcoming (May 2020) Elections then we are hopeful for that next year’s poll will be a success.

Yet again a wet week in the region, indeed heavy rain in most of East Africa, Djibouti ferried badly with flash floods damaging infrastructure and disrupting port activities. In the coffee growing regions of Ethiopia there was more unseasonal rain, heavy and persistent at times, and increasingly we hear coffee industry stakeholders voicing concerns about the upcoming crop, particularly in the South (Sidamo, Yrgacheffe and Guji) due to rain delaying the crop and impeding normal harvest and primary processing activities; after all we need sun to ripen cherries and to dry parchment/cherries; we have a team visiting the South and West coffee growing regions over the next 2 weeks so will have a clearer idea of the impact weather has had on crop development my mid December.

Prices for cherry have stopped their steady increase and even retreated; we hear that the price being paid in Sidamo is 13 Birr/kg cherry which is a decrease from what was reported last week; the lower price is a consequence of Washing Station owner refusing to pay up as the flow increases and information that the export market will not pay these high prices and this news trickles down to the coffee growing areas ; as more and more washing stations are in the hands of shippers the flow of information and reaction time to market conditions is better and faster. This is a very positive consequence of the liberalisation policies pursued in recent years.

The minimum price policy that has been the focus of much attention in recent weeks is once again being reviewed by the authorities since shippers and other stakeholders have voiced their serious concerns about the measures that had been tabled; therefore we are none the wiser as to what will finally emerge from the Coffee and tea Authority.

by Charles Seara Cardoso

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