Farm Africa has launched a new project to help more than 130,000 forest coffee producers in Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state improve their livelihoods by increasing the sustainable production of high-quality coffee.

Funded by High Water Global, the Sustainable Forest Coffee Value Chain Development project will use the participatory forest management (PFM) approach, which Farm Africa has been developing for more than 20 years.

PFM brings together local communities and local government to share responsibility for developing sustainable plans for the forests. In return for protecting precious biodiversity, communities are allowed to harvest wild coffee from the forest in a sustainable way.

Project staff will work with seven existing participatory forest management cooperatives in the Chora woreda in Buno-Bedele zone, offering training in the production and handling of quality coffee and support to build links to national and international markets and increase their bargaining ability.

The wild Arabica coffees growing in the region have good potential to command high prices nationally and internationally, but local coffee farmers have been largely unable to realise this potential. The local coffee market is currently dominated by local brokers and traders, who pay farmers low prices for their coffee, ABN reported.