Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers' Cooperative Union (YCFCU) said that the Union exported 2,000 tons of coffee in 2014, 60 per cent of whose sales worth 9 million USD is exported to the U.S market. Working with the USAID, the Union expects to double its coffee exports to 4,000 tons by the end of this year.
Briefing US Congressional Delegation at the Union's processing plant in Addis Ababa yesterday, General Manager of the YCFCU Takele Mammo said that the Union has created partnership with USAID in 2012 to build members' capacity in production, processing and marketing. USAID provided training assistance to member farmers and cooperative managers on post-harvest handling, proper cleaning, sorting and storage techniques to ensure quality and minimize post-harvest losses, he added.
While USAID also supports the Union through extensive training in business development and marketing, the support helps the union to increase exports by 500 MT in the past year. However, he said that the local cooperatives faced a challenge to access financing for machinery. USAID co-financed the purchase of "washing" machines for the beans and will enable them to double their production.
USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller said on his part, that Senators and Congressmen came to visit the developmental endeavours in Ethiopia. He said, "Here, we saw today a lot of activities showing that USAID is supporting our partners. Feed the Future initiative aims to transform agriculture, reduce poverty and improve nutrition by collaborating with the 60 million farmers of the country."
Regarding further cooperation, Dennis said that USAID will work on increasing maize production three-fold by these new varieties of hybrid maize using modern technology and innovations in order to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods.
Chair, Congressional Black Caucus Congressman G.K. Butterfield said, "I am very happy about the relationship between Ethiopia and the United States. I encourage my friends in Ethiopia to work hard, to produce the best product that can help to see Ethiopian economy continue to grow." He said adding that the prosperity and benefits of the two countries will go deep into the grassroots.
Explaining the future relationship between the two countries, Congressman Butterfield said, "President Obama loves Africa, he will strengthen the relationship with the American continent. President Obama and the Congress of the US are committed to the growth of this continent so that this good relationship is the beginning of something good."
The Congressman also said: "I would like to encourage American investors to come and invest in Ethiopia, a country ready to grow, fit for investment with hardworking people and eager to see a better tomorrow."