The coffee harvest season in Ethiopia, affected by factors like altitude and weather, usually spans from late September to January. It begins in the lower elevation areas of Bench, Sheko, and Bebeka in the South Western region and concludes in the higher altitude regions of Bale, Sidama, and Guji in the South Eastern part. As of now, harvesting has started in the South West coffee regions, where they’ve also set initial farmgate prices. Other regions, including Limmu, Sidama, Guji, Yirgacheffe, and Bale, are expected to begin their harvest in November.
The current farmgate price for a kilogram of fresh coffee cherries is 28 Br (about $0.50 USD) in Bench and Kaffa, while it’s slightly lower at 26 Br (approximately $0.46 USD) in some lowland regions of Jimma. These prices are notably lower than last season’s inflated rates, likely to influence the minimum export prices.
Since 2020, the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority has been setting a weekly minimum floor price for exported coffees, influenced by many factors including the local cherry price. Despite the early stage of the current season, a decrease in these minimum export prices is evident. For instance, Washed Yirgacheffe and Guji G1 coffees, which were priced at $3.39 and $3.36 per pound respectively at September’s end, have dropped to $3.29 per pound as of October 23, 2023. Similarly, Jimma and Sidama G1 coffees, initially at $2.81 and $3.39 per pound, are now priced at $3.32 and $2.75 per pound.
Additionally, numerous coffee processing warehouses still have substantial stocks of both specialty and commercial coffees, indicating an oversupply in the market and contributing to the adjustment in market prices. Nonetheless, the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority is aiming for an estimated yield of 350 metric tons in the forthcoming 2023/24 harvest season.
Want to learn more about the Ethiopian coffee value chain? Read our in-depth Guide to Navigating the Ethiopian Market.