Ethiopian coffee growers will now be able to meet demand for high-quality specialty coffee thanks to a new traceability system launched Monday by the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX). The launch coincides with a source-of-origin tour that the Specialty Coffee Association of America has been on this week in Ethiopia.

The IBM-enabled system, which will be piloted first in the coffee sector, is expected to increase worldwide exports of high-quality Ethiopian coffee and enhance market access for specialty Ethiopian coffee. The system, known as eATTS, gives international buyers and coffee-roaster partners reliable information on the origin and journey of the Ethiopian beans to ensure their quality, consistency, and safety. ECX CEO Ermias Eshetu proudly comments that “everyone in the [coffee] ecosystem sees the value of this work.”

ACDI/VOCA implements the USAID Feed the Future Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development (AGP-AMDe) activity in Ethiopia, which targets six value chains, one of which is coffee. USAID contributed $1.8 million through AMDe to the ECX initiative, which costs $4.5 million total. ACDI/VOCA and affiliate Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) support a consortium of Sustainable Coffee Program stakeholders. Members include the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Nestle, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Mother Parker’s Coffee & Tea, and roasters themselves who have made market-smart investments to support the technology.

USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller comments that USAID is “very excited about the launch of this innovative traceability initiative [as] USAID has been supporting the coffee industry in Ethiopia, from farm-gate to final market, for many years.”

The new traceability system will be rolled out in all of Ethiopia’s coffee-growing regions and will affect some five million smallholder farmers. It encourages them to use cultivation and harvesting best practices. It will be in place for this year’s coffee harvest and may be implemented for other commodities in Ethiopia in the near future, kick-starting a new chapter in how Ethiopia does business.

Read more about ECX’s eATTS system on the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture’s website here.

Read more about AGP-AMDe here.

Read more about ACDI/VOCA’s work in Ethiopia here.

Read more about Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) here.