Ethiopia Forest Coffee: Frequently asked Questions

How do you define forest coffee?

Forest Coffee: coffee that grows naturally in primary forests that have not been disturbed or damaged by human interference.

Semi-forest Coffee: coffee that grows in forests that are semi-managed by humans (i.e. opening up canopies, clearing weeds etc.) but maintain a minimum of 50% canopy cover.

Our project includes both Forest and Semi-forest coffee.

What do you mean by building a brand?

Partnerships for Forests aims to develop a new, internationally recognized, category of coffee – Ethiopian Forest Coffee. This means that collaborators are expected to work with multiple stakeholders in Ethiopia and international buyers, and develop and implement a strategy to build a new category for Ethiopian forest coffee as a specialty coffee variety in the global market.

When you talk about providing an incentive to farmers, are you referring to a price-based, financial incentive or could this include other incentives?  

We are initially referring to price-based incentives. However, Partnerships For Forests would also be open to other incentives that result from a sustainable supply chain.

Who owns natural forests in Ethiopia?

All natural forests in Ethiopia are owned by the government. However, management rights to some of the natural forests are being extended to institutions such as forest management groups and associations established through Participatory Forest Management (PFM) programmes. PFM programmes aim to empower forest-adjacent communities to own management and conservation of forests and benefit from natural forest resources—mainly non-timber forest products.

How much forest coffee is currently produced and at what quantity?

Table 1. Coffee production systems and total area coverage and productivity in Ethiopia

Coffee Production SystemTotal Production Area (ha)Productivity (kg/ha)Annual Coffee Production (ton)Contribution to National Production
Forest Coffee175,00040070,0005 – 10%
Semi-forest Coffee400,000610244,00035%
Garden Coffee300,000700210,00045%
Plantation Coffee25,0001,00025,00010 – 15%
Total900,000Mean=678549,000100%

Source: ECTDMA, (2015).

During Partnerships for Forests initial research phase, forest and semi-forest coffee samples collected from around 100 co-operatives were roasted and tasted in a SCAA certified coffee laboratory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All tasting sessions were accomplished using the protocols as defined by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

Participants during the tasting sessions included certified Q graders as well as guest cuppers who were invited for the occasion. The scores were tallied and averaged, after which the coffee samples were assigned to three different quality classes: tier 1, 2 or 3.

Tier 1 samples include coffees that displayed undisputable quality potential and made over 30% of all samples. Of these, 11 samples achieved cupping scores above 86.

Tier 2 samples include coffees that displayed a modest level of quality problems but the underlying flavour profile showed potential – These made up an additional 25% of all samples.

Will the project cause any food security issues?

No. Natural forest conservation is fundamental to maintaining land productivity and reducing degradation, thereby contributing to increasing food production and food security.

How do you expect partners to authenticate or certify Ethiopian forest coffee?

We will consider all options from certification to remote censoring. We encourage applicants to include their strategy to authenticate or certify Ethiopian forest coffee within their EOI form.

Can an applicant apply for one or both expression of interest?

Yes. Applicants can apply for either or both of the expression of interests.

How many proposals will P4F select?

We may select multiple proposals from the EOI for further development, but it is unlikely that we will provide grant funding to more than one proposal.

What is the budget range?

We cannot share a budget range at this time. Each proposal will be assessed on the merit of its value for money, defined as expected impact by 2020 in terms of investment and export.

How long will grant funding for Ethiopian Forest Coffee project last?

Partnerships for Forests will provide selected collaborators with the funding required to implement the project and progress to the next stage of maturity. This funding will be provided based on an agreed set of outputs as well as an agreed time period for delivery. Depending on the success of the first stage of the project, further funding could be made available at a later stage. No grant funding will be provided to fund activities that are expected to take place after December 2020, when the Partnerships for Forests programme will end.

Will Partnerships for Forests provide technical assistance, as well as grant funding, to successful applicants and how should applicants request this in their proposal?

Yes. Partnerships For Forests will provide technical assistance to successful applicants, when needed, using its own human resources and/or supplemented by outsourced expertise. Applicants may include any required technical assistance in the expression of interest.

How much matched funding is expected from applicants?

Grant applicants are encouraged to secure a minimum of 25% in matched funding in addition to the requested amount. For example, a request for £1,000,000 should leverage 25% or £250,000 in matched funding from a partner, making a total fund of £1,250,000. In-kind contributions, such as staff time and office costs may be considered as matched funding. All proposed match funding must be evidenced.

At the EOI stage, Partnerships For Forests will still consider applicants where matched funding has not yet been secured. However, the award of a grant may be dependent on securing this funding.

Is there a limit on indirect costs?

Partnerships For Forests does not set a limit on indirect costs. However, please be informed that a key approval criteria for costs is their value for money. High indirect costs percentages usually do not reflect good value for money and will be carefully scrutinized by the Partnerships for Forest team.

It is preferred that as many project costs as possible are broken down as separate line items within the budget and separately evidenced. Any indirect cost rates must be justified in relation to how they are specifically linked to the undertaking of the project, and should never be used to cover ‘business as usual’ costs (i.e. those costs not linked to project delivery for which organizations would be required to cover regardless of whether they were working on the project or not).