In the verdant landscapes of Ethiopia’s Kaffa and Sheka Zones, a bold initiative is unfurling as the South West Ethiopia Coffee, Tea, and Spices Authority sets its sights on elevating the nation’s tea industry. With an ambitious plan to deliver over 7,000 tons of tea products to the central market, Ethiopia is poised to make waves in both local consumption and international trade.
Astra Mekuria, the visionary Director General of the Authority, shared details of this comprehensive plan, highlighting the delivery of 7,026 tons of tea products to the central market. Impressively, a substantial portion of this target—approximately 3,100 tons—has already found its way to eager consumers. Mekuria underscored the state’s unwavering commitment to the development of the tea sector, with a special focus on the Kaffa and Sheka Zones, renowned for their expansive tea farms.
“The state has strategically concentrated on tea products, and Kaffa and Sheka Zones are notable for their vast tea farms. East African and Ethio-Agriseft (with a special focus on Wushwush tea) are actively cultivating tea in Sheka and Kaffa zones respectively,” emphasized Mekuria.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by tea farmers, particularly in accessing viable market opportunities, Mekuria commended their dedication to engaging in contractual agreements with organizations. He highlighted the state’s broader focus on various potential crops, envisioning benefits for both local and international markets.
Despite the diverse array of tea species in Ethiopia, the spotlight is currently on Wushwush tea, gaining widespread popularity. In December 2023, Gumero Tea Factory, a prominent player in Ethiopia’s tea processing sector, made headlines by redirecting its focus exclusively towards international markets.
Solomon Mitiku, the Production Sector Head at Gumero Tea, shared insights into the company’s strategic shift, stating, “Gumero Tea boasts a daily production capacity of 88,000 kilograms of processed tea,” affirming the company’s commitment to expanding its global footprint.
Ethiopia, a notable tea exporter, earned an impressive US$738,000 in 2019, securing its place as the world’s 83rd-highest exporter of tea. A research article on Hindawi, Advances in Agriculture, highlighted that tea was Ethiopia’s 93rd most exported product in the same year.
As Ethiopia steeps itself in the promise of this thriving tea industry, the South West Authority’s ambitious plan not only signifies a significant stride towards economic prosperity but also cements Ethiopia’s role as a formidable player in the global tea market. The fragrant aroma of success wafts through the air, heralding a future where Ethiopian tea leaves leave an indelible mark on palates worldwide.