Lofo Allianz für Produktqualität
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High-quality organic products from the birthplace of coffee

Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, is known throughout the world for its rich variety of coffee beans. Coffee is found throughout the country in many types of environments, from a few trees in a small household garden, to a vast forested hillside where it grows wild. Some buyers use words like floral, spicy, juicy and mysterious to describe Ethiopian coffee. In order to be imported to the EU, this highly demanded coffee has to meet certain quality requirements.

Companies like GEPA – The Fair Trade Company (www.gepa.de/en), an importer of Fair Trade products for almost 50 years, import organic and Fair Trade certified coffee from Ethiopia to sell it on the German market. Besides importing products from their trade partners, one of their goals is to also constantly support their trade partners with trainings on different aspects in order to gain, maintain and improve access to international markets. The company does pioneering work in cooperation with many partners in Central and South America, Africa and Asia as well as Europe – from the creation of market opportunities to the development of organic and Fair Trade products. Thus, compliance with the new EU organic regulation that came into force in the beginning of 2022, is key for GEPA and its trade partners. Cooperatives need to be well prepared in order to comply with these new rules and implement changes in an efficient and effective way to thus remain able to export their organic coffee into the EU.

Since November 2021, GEPA and the Alliance for Product Quality in Africa started to jointly support the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) in building the capacities necessary to implement these changes and maintain their EU Organic certification.

The SCFCU was founded in 2001 to represent coffee producing cooperatives in southern Ethiopia. Today, SCFCU has grown to represent 57 primary cooperative societies and over 80,000 smallholder farmers, making SCFCU one of the largest coffee producing cooperative Unions in Ethiopia. SCFCU farmers have been growing and processing high quality Sidama type coffee for more than two decades and are exporting high quality traceable coffee directly to international buyers.

Of the 57 cooperatives, 41 cooperatives representing approximately 53,000 farmers, are organic (EU and NOP standards) and Fairtrade certified and produce approximately 10,000 tons of high-quality organic Arabica beans per year.

As of January 2023, within the scope of the cooperation of GEPA and the Alliance, 12 employees involved in quality management at SCFCU as well as 32 certification coordinators of the organic cooperatives have been trained by the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FiBL, to make them aware of the new rules and amendments in the EU organic regulation and to develop internal control systems that meet the requirements of the updated standard.

Within the cooperation, extensive training materials have been developed that can be used by organic cooperatives and farmers worldwide. The training materials are available on our website in English and will still be translated to Amharic. Contents of the training materials are:

1.         Introduction EU Regulation for Groups of Operators

2.         Organic Production requirements

3.         Internal Control Systems (ICS) Requirements

If you have further questions about this cooperation, please contact us at info@afpq.de.