ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has officially launched a project aimed at combating deforestation in efforts to boost coffee production in the country. 

The project will be implemented under the theme “Preventing Forest Loss, Promoting Restoration, and Integrating Sustainability into Ethiopia’s Coffee Value Chains & Food Systems” (FOLUR).  

This joint initiative aims to address deforestation, promote forest restoration, and integrate sustainability into key sectors. 

The FOLUR project, with a total budget of USD 20,842,202, including UNDP’s contribution, is set to be implemented in 22 woredas across four regions: Oromia, Sidama, Central Ethiopia, and the Southwest region.  

The project, running from 2023 to 2031, aligns with the National Integrated Land Use Policy, emphasizing the government’s commitment to comprehensive land management. 

The key objectives of the FOLUR project include avoiding 7,288,195 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, improving the livelihoods of 440,000 people, with a focus on gender balance, restoring 10,500 hectares of unproductive coffee gardens, and managing 60,000 hectares of dry and moist Afromontane Forest.  

Additionally, the project aims to bring 2,031,502 hectares of land under improved land use practices. 

During the launch event, the Ethiopia’s minister of Planning and Development Fitsum Assefa said, “The Ethiopian government is determined to take large-scale tree planting through our Green Legacy and landscape management actions, while efforts are ongoing to develop the integrated land use policy and planning.”  

The FOLUR project is strategically positioned to address challenges arising from deforestation, exacerbated by climate change and population pressures, aligning with Ethiopia’s broader environmental policies. 

Ms. Charu Bist, UNDP Ethiopia’s acting Resident Representative, emphasized the global significance of the FOLUR project.  

She highlighted its role in addressing deforestation, promoting sustainability through south-south cooperation with 26 other FOLUR Implementing Countries, and contributing to global ecosystem preservation. 

The FOLUR project is expected to play a crucial role in shaping national policies, including the development of the national land use policy, the national forest sector development program, and the comprehensive Ethiopian coffee strategy.  

The initiative aligns with the Green Legacy initiative, the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy, and the updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). 

Ethiopia is Africa’s largest coffee producer and the world’s fifth largest exporter of Arabica coffee.  

Coffee is Ethiopia’s number one source of export revenue generating about 30-35 percent of the country’s total export earnings. 95% of the coffee is produced in the Ethiopian forest area and is claimed to be organic.  

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