Coffee faces threat in eastern ethiopia
HARAR: For generations, farmers planted the lush earth of Awedai and nearby areas in eastern Ethiopia with coffee trees, earning a livelihood from a crop that is now the country’s main export.
But the centuries-long practice is now being abandoned in favour of khat, a leafy plant chewed as a stimulant in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
“Coffee comes only once a year. But you can harvest khat twice a year,” said Jemal Moussa, a 45-year-old farmer and father of six who depends on the narcotic leaf for income. “Khat is much more useful.”
He said it was in the early 2000s that farmers in the Awedai area started planting khat as its popularity rose and coffee prices remained stagnant.