ETHIOPIA – The Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia is set to commission its first coffee roasting and packaging complex at Gelan town in Oromia Regional state.

The coffee roasting complex worth 50 million Br (US$1.5m) of investment will have a capacity of roasting, grinding and packaging 120Kg of coffee an hour.

This will enable the union to add value to its coffee products that has been exporting green coffee beans for two decades.

“From now on, we are funnelling our investments toward adding value to our coffee,” said Oumer Wabe, general manager of the Union.

Sprawling on 2,307Sqm of land, the plant was set up within 18 months since its ground-breaking in July 2018.

 “Currently, the construction of the plant is in its final stage with the installation of a sewage system,” says Oumer.

When completed, the plant will employ 20 locals to start with, which will further increase when the production ramps up.

The management of the Union is also planning to open a chain of coffee shops in the capital, where it will also sell packed coffee.

It has made inquiries to the City Administration for land to open coffee complexes to directly sell its products to users.

To cut the expenses of farmers under the union, it plans to construct a storage facility and a laboratory.

The union has already started construction of two storage sites and a laboratory in Guji Zone for 38 million Br (US$1.1m).

The Cooperative Union was established in June 1999 by 34 cooperatives with 22,691 farmers.

Currently, the Union has 405 cooperatives with over 400,000 farmers and has three coffee processing plants, which are located in Dire Dawa, Gelan and Qality that wash and remove the husks from the green coffee beans.

From small-scale washing to larger scale processing, Ethiopia has over 200 coffee processing plants.

Other coffee exporters and unions including Mullege Coffee Export, Tracon Trading Plc and Yigreacheffe Union who are also en-route to open coffee processing complexes.

Yirgacheffe Coffee Union’s roasting plant, which is almost done, sprawls across 10,000Sqm of land and is located in Aqaqi Qality District behind Oromia Water Works Construction Enterprise.

It is being built at a cost of 16 million Br (US$0.499m) and has a capacity of roasting 480Kg an hour.

Tracon Trading Plc already set up a roasting plant two years ago, but they are installing new machines being shipped from Germany, Italy and Turkey.

The roasting plant is located in Hawas Wereda and rests on 1,300Sqm of land. Currently, it has the capacity to roast 240Kg in each batch.

Melange Coffee Roasters, a family-owned coffee roaster company inaugurated a new coffee roasting and packaging plant in August 2019 after investing US$1.37 million (40 million Br). The facility has a daily capacity of roasting 7,500 kilograms and a packaging capacity of 3,600 kilograms of coffee per hour.