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$20.8mln Project to Tackle Deforestation, Boost Coffee Production

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian authorities launched a joint project that seeks deforestation-free coffee value chains.

The Ministry of Planning and Development partnered with the UN Development Program and the Global Environment Facility to launch the project this week.

It is named “Preventing Forest Loss, Promoting Restoration, and Integrating Sustainability into Ethiopia’s Coffee Value Chains & Food Systems” FOLUR Project.

The project is implemented in 22 woredas of four regions: Oromia, Sidama, Central Ethiopia and Southwest region with a total budget more than $20.8 million.

At the launching event, Planning and Development Minister Fitsum Assefa highlighted the challenges posed by deforestation and land degradation, further intensified by climate change.

These issues strain the country’s natural resources and livelihoods, particularly in coffee-producing areas, according to her.

“The FOLUR project is a crucial step in addressing these complex challenges,” the minister said.

“It will contribute to the development of the national land use policy, the national forest sector development program, and the comprehensive Ethiopian coffee strategy, while improving coffee livelihoods,” she added.

The project running from 2023 to 2031 aims to adopt a National Integrated Land Use Policy.

Authorities expect it to have a significant impact in avoiding close to 7.3 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, improving livelihoods for 440,000 people and restoring 10,500 hectares of unproductive coffee gardens.

Restoring, and managing 60,000 hectares of dry and moist Afromontane Forest, and bringing 2,031,502 hectares of land under improved land use practices are also among its targets.

“The Ethiopian government is determined to take large-scale tree planting through our Green Legacy Initiative and landscape management actions, while efforts are ongoing to develop the integrated land use policy and planning,” Fitsum said.

FOLUR is a global initiative being implemented in 26 countries with focus on eight commodities.

Charu Bist, UNDP Ethiopia’s acting Resident Representative, pointed out its multiple role in addressing global deforestation and improving livelihoods.

“The FOLUR project has a triple role in addressing global ecosystems; the opportunity to tackle deforestation, which leads to low crop production and food insecurity; and accelerate sustainability through south-south cooperation.”

FOLUR will help translate Ethiopia’s commitment to environmental sustainability and food security into prioritized action on the ground, according to UNDP.