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Ethiopia obtains $324 mln from coffee export

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June 3, 2007 (ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia has obtained close to 324.5 million U.S. dollars from export of coffee since August last year, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Sunday.

Agricultural Products Export Department head with the Ministry, Assefa Mulugeta told Ethiopian News Agency on the weekend that the country has exported 136,600 tons of coffee during the past 10 months.

He said the volume of coffee exported during the reported period exceeded that of last year’s by 26 percent while the earnings surpasses by 24.5 percent.

The coffee was exported to 48 countries, while Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, U.S., Italy, France and the Sudan were among the major export destinations.

The number of countries that imported Ethiopian coffee has increased by 12, he said.

Ethiopia is recognized as the historic birthplace of coffee and the source of some of the finest coffee in the world.

Ethiopia has just resolved a dispute with the US-based Starbucks coffee chain over trademarks after the two sides agreed in principle to sign a licensing and marketing deal which recognises the country’s ownership of its premium varieties of coffee beans.

The agreement would extend the collaboration between the two on marketing Ethiopia’s superior quality coffees. Ethiopia has been in the hunt to trademark its speciality coffees - Harar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe - from which its farmers would earn tens of millions of dollars in extra income each year, but has been frustrated by Starbucks.

In October 2006, the UK-based charity organisation Oxfam launched a campaign against Starbucks because of the chain’s opposition to Ethiopia’s intention to trademark its coffee beans in the United States.

(ST)

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