Cof­fee faces threat in east­ern ethiopia

The Sunday Guardian - - The Week -

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.

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