A new coffee processing and storage plant has been established in the industrial area of Kaliti in southern Addis Ababa, the state-owned English language daily The Ethiopian Herald has said. The facility, owned by Alfoz, a private limited company, has the capacity to process up to 30,000 metric tons of coffee a year and is expected to create jobs for 2,000 people. The company currently exports washed and dry coffee to the Middle East, Europe, the US and Japan.
Coffee has long been critical to Ethiopias economy, accounting for up to two thirds of its foreign exchange earnings. However, in recent years the sliding price of coffee on the global market has led many Ethiopian farmers to switch to growing the more lucrative qat, another indigenous plant which, when chewed for a long time, produces an amphetamine-like high.