The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) is a new initiative for Ethiopia and the first of its kind in Africa. The vision of ECX is to revolutionize Ethiopia’s tradition bound agriculture through creating a new marketplace that serves all market actors, from farmers to traders to processors to exporters to consumers. The ECX is a unique partnership of market actors, the Members of the Exchange, and its main promoter, the Government of Ethiopia. ECX represents the future of Ethiopia, bringing integrity, security, and efficiency to the market. 

The ECX traceability system just launched will encompass over five million smallholder farmers engaged in producing multiple commodities traded at the ECX. This system will begin by piloting coffee and is expected to increase exports of high-quality Ethiopian coffee worldwide and to enhance market access for specialty coffee from Ethiopia. The project came to fruition in collaboration with USAID, and Nestle, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Mother Parker’s Coffee & Tea and The Sustainable Trade Initiative; the Sustainable Coffee Program (powered by The Sustainable Trade Initiative) convenes industry and trade partners, producers, (local) governments and research institutions, donors, NGOs and standard setting organizations in the coffee sector. The ambition is to help bring global sustainable coffee production and sourcing practices to scale, by aligning stakeholder investments in producer support programs, to improve farmer livelihoods

Dennis Weller, Mission Director of USAID Ethiopia, remarked, “USAID has been supporting the coffee industry in Ethiopia, from farm-gate to final market, for many years. We are very excited about the launch of this innovative, multi-stakeholder traceability initiative that marries market development and ground-break technology to meet international demands and strengthen the entire value chain.”

ECX’s CEO Mr Ermias Eshetu, further explained, “ECX aims to track the footprints of all products that are traded at the Exchange. When it comes to coffee, this capability will provide the full event history of where every bag of coffee was washed, stored, and when it was sampled and graded. Such factual product trace will serve as a ‘product passport’ supporting farmers and traders to enhance global competitiveness and provide a sustained access to international markets”. Buyers of commodities have become more discerning and willing to pay for quality, environmentally friendly and origin-specific commodities and they are increasingly demanding transparency and accountability within supply chains, so as to ensure the quality, consistency and safety of their products.  The new tagging system links bags of coffee traded through the ECX to one of over 2,500 geo-referenced washing, hulling and cleaning stations located in Ethiopia’s southern, central and western coffee growing regions. The system will analyze incoming client coffee quality needs and match that with the needs of buyers across the globe.” Improvements in sustainability and traceability will provide farmers with the incentive to use the best techniques to grow and harvest different commodities. 

The traceability system will be in place for this year’s coffee harvest, and will soon be implemented for other commodities, opening a new chapter in Ethiopia’s commodity trading history.

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