Promoting sustainable supply chains through innovation

Project description

Title: Innovations for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains in Ethiopia (ISASE)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA); Environment, Forestry and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC)
Overall term: 2019 to 2020



Ethiopia is the cradle of Arabica coffee and to this day, coffee grows wild in the last of the natural forests situated in the southwest of the country. Coffee, but also other forest products such as honey, beeswax and spices, are an important source of income for the local population. However, most smallholder families are unable to earn a sufficient income from the sale of these products. The living income for an Ethiopian family amounts to roughly five euros a day. However, coffee production only brings in an average of 85 euro cents per day and family.

As the sale of non-timber products generates hardly any income, the pressure on the remaining forests is growing and they are increasingly being converted into farming areas. As a result, Ethiopia is losing 40,000 hectares of forest every year. In order to effectively protect the remaining forest areas, the value of the forest must be enhanced and the available raw materials used sustainably. On the production side, this will require promoting sustainable farming structures, while on the demand side, a willingness to pay fair prices is necessary.


Producers in the project region achieve higher product quality. They earn a living income and use natural resources in a sustainable way.




The project is setting up a sustainable farming region in the Nono Sele region in southwest Ethiopia. To achieve this, local authorities, representatives from the private sector and civil society are brought together to engage in dialogue and receive advisory support on sustainable development planning. To create incentives for the implementation of a sustainable farming region, the project promotes trade relations with international coffee and beeswax companies. Based on the needs of the companies, smallholders and cooperatives receive training in farming and post-harvest practices to improve the quality of the products they grow. The objective is to increase the income of the producers in the long term and to reduce the pressure on existing forest areas. The traceability of coffee is becoming an increasingly important factor for purchasing companies. In order to meet this demand and make it possible to trace a product back to its origin at farm level, the project is developing a block chain-based digital solution.


With a coffee innovation fund the project supports private enterprises in order to increase the income of coffee producers. The fund promotes various new approaches along the coffee supply chain, which range from marketing coffee shells as cascara tea to using innovative drying machinery that not only accelerates the coffee drying process but is fuelled solely on agricultural waste products.

The project also supports the Global Coffee Platform in establishing a national coffee platform. This platform brings together stakeholders in the Ethiopian coffee industry to work together on improving the living conditions of producers and to contribute to the conservation of natural resources.

Further Information