It should be noted that with this article, I do not intend to establish a cultural superiority on the part of the West to the detriment of the third world, as it is commonly called. I firmly believe that there is no culture superior to another, however they are all different, each with its positive side and its flaws. I do not agree with the kind of superiority that some feel when they come to Africa "advising" how to live, what is the best solution to problems, and even how to grow and process coffee. Africa must find its own solutions!
But why is it so difficult to work in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is a complex and culturally diverse country. As the only country in Africa that has never been colonized, Ethiopia has a culture without Western influence. That means that there are many situations that are difficult for us to understand, but here they seem like normal, it's the Ethiopian way of doing things. Like many African nations, it has its own language-dialects, but it is the only African country that also has its own unique alphabet. Ethiopia also has its own time (the daily clock starts at 6 a.m., not midnight) and its own calendar, roughly seven years and nine months behind ours.
Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa and the fifth largest producer in the world. Ethiopians are among the largest coffee consumers in Africa, almost 50% of coffee production is consumed in the country. Although Ethiopia has improved its practices and made significant progress along its value chain, coffee farmers are lagging behind. Improved varieties of coffee trees remain out of reach for too many farmers, adoption of better processing techniques has been slow, and the growing potential for disease and climate change is leaving coffee farmers increasingly vulnerable. But perhaps most importantly, many coffee growers still don't believe that investing in quality pays off and, in fact, they are often right.
The export process is bureaucratic, complex and tedious. Generally, there are delays, due to the great demand to export in a very limited period of time. The processing plants are working at full capacity 7 days a week day and night, so it is important to pay attention to the cup profile of our selection, but also to the preparation of green coffee. Our motto is to cup, analyse and repeat in Ethiopia; And yet, something could still go wrong. But we are making every effort to minimize the chances of this happening.