By Tesfa Alem Tekle
April 4, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia has secured over USD 1.8 Billion from export earnings over the past eight months alone, a 200 million USD rise from that of same period last year. State Ministry of Trade and Industry said.
The revenue was generated from exports of more than 716 million tonnes of mainly agricultural products.
Coffee, oil seeds mainly sesame, pulses, gold, khat (narcotic leaves), flower, fruits, cotton, textiles, livestock and minerals were among the items exported.
Major buyers are Asian countries – India, China, Middle Eastern countries, Turkey, Greece, Sudan, Somalia, South Africa and North African states.
The ministry said that the government being exerting utmost efforts to boost export earnings. The current pace of export returns could almost double its earnings by the end of the year.
Coffee accounts the lion’s share of the country’s foreign exchange revenue, roughly up to 60 percent the total returns.
Leading buyers of Ethiopia’s coffee are Germany, followed by Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United States and The Netherlands.
The Horn of Africa nation is also the world’s fourth largest exporter of sesame seeds after China, India and Myanmar.
Last year, in 2008/09, Ethiopia export earnings slumped to just $1.5 billion from expected $2.6 billion due to the global financial crisis.
Ethiopia prides itself as the birthplace of coffee. Some 15 million smallholder farmers grow the crop, mostly in forested highlands in the west of the country.