ADDIS ABABA, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia is keen to have Chinese engagement in the coffee sector to boost value addition as the East African country seeks to augment its coffee export earnings, an Ethiopian official has said.

Adugna Debela, Director General of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, told Xinhua in a recent interview that as part of the ongoing efforts, the East African country has launched an initiative to lure Chinese investors to join local coffee roasters for value addition and increase direct coffee export to China.

Ethiopia, which is presently working to penetrate the Asian coffee market, had recently promoted the newly developed Ethiopian Coffee National Brand to the Chinese market during an exhibition held in China, Debela said.

Coffee export is often referred to as the backbone of Ethiopia's economy, in which the country's traditional top five coffee export destinations were the U.S. Japan, Germany, Belgium and Saudi Arabia.

The country is presently working hard to expand its reach and exploit the emerging Chinese coffee market.

"Now, the Asian market is our very good opportune market to expand and sell coffee, particularly China and South Korea," said Debela.

"We have already invited Chinese investors to work in joint-venture with our coffee roasters here in Ethiopia. A value-added coffee can be directly exported to China," he added.

Despite the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the promotion of Ethiopia's specialty coffee in China, the director-general stressed the country's keen intent to boost both Chinese engagement in the sector as well as the export of Ethiopian coffee to China.

"There is a very enabling environment now in Ethiopia, particularly to invest in coffee, so it is time for them (Chinese investors) to come and invest," he said.

According to Debela, Ethiopia's new coffee policy, with detailed benefits and incentives, has created an enabling environment for coffee roasters here in the country.

Ethiopia, which is known as the origin of Arabica coffee, is recognized worldwide for its rich coffee quality and flavor, which ranges from winy to fruity and chocolaty, making the country's coffee varieties on demand across the globe.

Ethiopia has been commissioning strenuous quality measures to enhance its coffee export earnings.

Even though Ethiopia's coffee export volume dropped this year, quality measures have enabled a significant increase in the price of Ethiopian coffee, which has increased from the previous amount of 3,700 U.S. dollars per ton to 3,900-4,000 dollars per ton, according to figures from the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority.

Ethiopia secured 854.21 million U.S. dollars from the export of coffee last year, according to the authority. Enditem

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