With one of the fastest growing non-oil economies in Africa, Ethiopia presents tremendous opportunities for inclusive growth. Agriculture accounts for 85 percent of total employment and more than 45 percent of the gross domestic product.

However, many smallholder farmers are not integrated into commercial markets due to a lack of coordination, information and access to markets. Since 2009, TechnoServe has been working to address these challenges, with a focus on supporting smallholder coffee farmers. As the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia has a climate and terrain well-suited for producing high-quality beans. TechnoServe is helping coffee farmers sustainably boost their incomes by improving quality, productivity and business practices.

On The Ground



Coffee Initiative

The Coffee Initiative worked with local farmers in East Africa to improve agronomy and business practices, establish new coffee cooperatives and strengthen existing ones, and help cooperatives create business plans and access financing for wet mills.
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Partners in Food Solutions-TechnoServe Alliance

The Partners in Food Solutions (PFS)-TechnoServe Alliance matches the expertise of leading global food companies with the needs of African-based food processing companies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.
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Enhancing Sustainability and Increasing Coffee Incomes in Sidama

Coffee production in the Sidama Zone of Ethiopia is primarily by 200,000 smallholder farmer families, who despite growing some of the highest quality coffee in the world continue to live in poverty due to small farm sizes and low productivity. Beginning in 2013, TechnoServe in partnership with IDH, Nestle and Nestle Nespresso is working to increase the income of these farmers by increasing the supply of high quality, sustainable produce coffee. The program has trained 83 private wet mill operators to improve sustainability practices through the adoption of new practices including the separation of coffee pulp from waste water for composting and distribution to farmers.


IDH, Nespresso



Developing a Sustainable Supply Chain for Unwashed Coffee

Ethiopia is the largest exporter of Arabica coffee in Africa, with 70 percent of exports being unwashed coffee. With support from Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) and IDH, TechnoServe is looking to make the unwashed coffee sector in Ethiopia's Jimma, Lekempt and Sidama regions more sustainable. The project will support 100 high producing hulling stations to comply with sustainability standards, as well as provide agronomy training to help 24,000 farmers adopt best practices and increase yields by 50 percent. The program has supported 33 hulling stations in adopting sustainability practice as of the end of 2015.



Promoting Sustainable Water Management

Hundreds of millions of liters of effluent are discharged into the rivers of Ethiopia’s Sidamo region during coffee processing without adequate waste water management. This polluted water then becomes source water for communities and wet mills downstream. The problem has become so acute that legislation was passed to prevent new wet mill construction within five kilometers existing wet mills. TechnoServe is currently working with 10 Sidamo wet mills to implement appropriate water purification solutions, from constructing shallow evaporation lagoons to installing grass-based wetland treatment systems. TechnoServe will support an additional 20 wet mills implement sustainable water management practices over the next two years.


Mother Parkers



Blog Posts

April 12, 2016

Transforming Harvest Season in Ethiopia

An innovative approach to coffee production in the Sidama region is helping smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods while setting an example of environmental sustainability.

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March 22, 2016

Clean Rivers and Profitable Farms in Ethiopia’s Coffee Country

On World Water Day, we highlight coffee farming communities in Ethiopia that are taking action for clean water.

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September 29, 2015

Working with the Private Sector to Achieve Sustainable Development

A new report demonstrates how partnerships between TechnoServe and some of the world’s leading companies are creating lasting change.

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TechnoServe Ethiopia

P.O. Box 100598
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: +251 1 663 0017
Fax: +251 1 663 0018

Mefthe Tadesse

Country Director