Thousands of coffee and honey producers in southern Ethiopia have managed to increase their produces with the help of a collaboration effort with European Companies, a German development agency said on Thursday.

This was expressed on Thursday when a Germany government’s program for private sector involvement in emerging markets,, brought its three years-long projects for developing coffee and honey business in Ethiopia to an end.

Through, Germany provides companies investing in emerging countries with professional support.

Farmers in Kafa and Sheka, helped strengthen and expand wild coffee processing, manufacture and exports, and developed honey exports, said Germany’s development agency, Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, said.

In addition, GIZ said the farmers and were also able to promote sustainable forest management in the zones, along with the German businesses.

GIZ – the implementer of the project – was carrying out measures for fostering coffee and honey production together with the German companies Original Food and Tuchel&Sohn in the Kafa and Sheka regions of southwestern Ethiopia.

“Cooperation with the private sector is of great importance to GIZ and sustainable development on the whole,” Matthias Rompel, Country Director of GIZ Ethiopia, said.

“These projects show how Germany supports successful models for business and also ensures that all parts in the value chain benefit,” Rompel added.

– ‘Visible changes’ –

GIZ Ethiopia said the number of smallholders organized in cooperatives increased during the project’s lifespan.

About 7,500 producers are involved in sales of certified wild coffee while over 8,500 farmers could produce honey of “export quality for the first time in Ethiopia”, it said.

The development agency also said the level of certified wild coffee export also increased, with 350 tons of specialty coffee currently being produced in the two districts.

The project has contributed to the sustainable management of 57,164 hectares of forestland in the Afromontane forests of southwestern Ethiopia.

Speaking at the closing event on Thursday, HanspeterSchwär, Economic Counselor of the Embassy of Germany, said: “Development cooperation not only has the potential to support individuals, but also to grow markets”.

“Together, actors can introduce and support the concept of sustainability for business models and for the balance between man and nature, visible in Kafa and Sheka,” said the counselor. (Daily Monitor)