REgrow Yirga revives one of the world’s most celebrated coffee origins: Yirgacheffe in Southern Ethiopia
The REgrow Yirga project funded by USDA, JDE, and Peet's Coffee, in partnership with Kew, aims to enhance the sustainable competitiveness of the Ethiopian coffee sector through increased productivity, improved supply chain performance, strengthened market linkages, and a more facilitative enabling environment.
U.S. markets are constantly seeking coffees from new origins that offer unique flavor profiles, are sustainably and organically grown, and tell a compelling story about the people involved in production from cherry to cup. No country is better positioned to serve that need than Ethiopia, which already produces some of the best tasting coffees and has the potential to market more than 6,000 heirloom varieties, many of which are still unidentified and grow wild in the vast southwestern forests. Today, more than half of coffee consumed in the U.S. is specialty, indicating an opportune time for Ethiopia to increase coffee exports significantly and hook U.S. consumers on Ethiopian coffee. The right market system interventions can unlock the sector’s latent potential, and Ethiopia can reclaim its position at the epicenter of coffee.
REgrow Yirga supports the strategic objectives set out in the Comprehensive Ethiopian Coffee Strategy and Implementation Roadmap (CECSIR) by the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority. The project will implement a set of tested market-driven solutions and leverage private sector resources and expertise to address root causes that constrain Ethiopia’s coffee sector from reaching its full potential.
The project will directly benefit 45,000 smallholder coffee farmers and 45 cooperative and private wet mills by addressing production and quality challenges. REgrow Yirga will also work with key market system support actors to provide high-quality services. Indirectly, the project will benefit farming households via improved market conditions and income, particularly if stumping payments and additional coffee income are invested in nutrition, health, and education. In addition, the project aims to improve the overall business environment to the benefit of international traders; increasing foreign exchange flows will also unlock opportunities in sectors beyond coffee.
The project is scheduled to run until mid-2025 and is situated in the Gedeo Zone (known for its famous Yirgacheffe coffee) in Southern Ethiopia. REgrow Yirga is part of a portfolio of coffee projects TechnoServe implements within Ethiopia all aimed at increasing coffee farmers’ income.
The two key objectives of the project are
- Increased productivity in the coffee sector through improved practices; and,
- Increased trade in Ethiopian coffee, by both volume and value.
These objectives will be met through three activities:
- Train farmers in good agricultural practices and incentivize farm rehabilitation,
- Improve Supply Chain Performance through Coaching Washing Stations and Facilitating Market Linkages,
- Support Coffee Varietal Research, Business Service Providers, and Government Institutions.
• 45,000+ coffee farmers increase their income
• 200%+ yield increases among stumping farmers; 30%+ across all EMERGENCE farmers
• 14,500 ha under improved management
• 40% of all farmers trained are women
• 45 wet mills producing increased volumes of Q1/Q2 grade coffee
• 2,250 jobs created
• $87 million+ in coffee sales
• $8 million+ private sector investment leveraged
The REgrow Yirga project is funded by USDA, JDE, and Peet’s Coffee, and is a partnership with Kew. Government partners include The Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority and Jimma Agricultural Research Center.