ADDIS ABABA – Five coffee entrepreneurs have received 2.53 birr each after winning the 2021 Edition of the Coffee Innovation Fund (CIF) competition.
The CIF 2.0 is an international competition that is active in four East African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The fund encourages innovative and scalable solutions to increase the profitability of small-holder coffee farmers and foster fairer value distribution in the supply chain by partnering with the private sector.
In Ethiopia, the competition – launched by the German’s Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, has continued to support entrepreneurs working in the coffee sector for the second year in a row.
This year, up to 30 firms submitted their innovative ideas to the CIF 2.0 team and went through a rigorous selection process.
The team announced the 5 winners, that received 2.53 million Birr each, on Monday.
The winning firms are Deba Engineering for using artificial intelligence to detect coffee disease early; and Konjo Coffee for facilitating access to the premium market for unorganized smallholding coffee farmers through a digital application.
The other winning firms are Carbel B.V., for introduction of carbon payment for Ethiopia coffee agroforestry, YA Coffee, for it capacity building and value addition push for smallholder farmers, and Moyee Coffee Roasting for production of organic cascara (Coffee tree tea) to increase farmers income, according to the organizers.
These companies also receive technical support and capacity development training from the program, according to GIZ officials.
“Introducing new technologies and best practices to modernize the coffee industry by bringing together the private sector and the farmers is the aim of the Coffee Innovation Fund,” said Karin Cristina Allgoewer, Program Manager at GIZ.
“The innovative and inclusive business models will have a positive impact at the farm level, as well as in the Ethiopian coffee sector in general,” the manager added.
Officials believe these five winning innovations will bring solutions to the critical challenges of the coffee sector in Ethiopia.
“Innovation helps humans address daily hardships. There are many obstacles and backward practices prohibiting coffee farmers from realizing their full potential,” said Dr. Adugna Debela, Director General, Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority.
“Modernization of the coffee value chain, specifically in value addition, is essential,” he said. “The government has plans to enable sustainable changes in the lives of the farmers by supporting innovative ideas, processes and projects.”
Ethiopia is the biggest exporter of coffee in Africa, and Arabica coffee is valued for its unique taste in global coffee market.