Due to the effects of global climate change, it seems that even in Ethiopia it is becoming difficult to predict the harvest time and quality.
Last year, 2020, the harvest started in October in the main production areas, but in areas such as Yirgacheffe, where we are purchasing, the harvest started a little later in early December.
Also, the variation in the Grade 1 samples, which is the quality rank we purchase, was larger than expected, so selection took time.
The effects of the pandemic, as well as the effects of climate change, have caused a lot of disruption to coffee exports. Even after our coffee was ready for shipment, we couldn't find a container to transport it to Japan right away.
There was a severe shortage of containers.
The coffee that was ready for shipment first did not move because there was no prospect of export, so the coffee that was to be processed later could not proceed to the next process, and the site (refining facility) was confused.
The port was in chaos, and various problems were occurring locally, such as lack of space on the ship and regulations on coffee that suddenly changed as usual.
The turmoil caused by the pandemic has turned out to be a year of considerable hardship for local agents.
After experiencing 2020 full of such hardships, a new harvest season is about to begin.
The rainy season in Ethiopia in 2021 seems to be less rain than usual, and the maturity of cherries is even. This is expected to increase yields and improve quality.
Harvesting has already started in the lowlands of Yirgacheffe, Sidamo and parts of West Arsi.
Cherry prices seem certain to be higher than they were at the same time last year. Harvest is still two to four weeks away on the higher plots where the lots we are buying are grown.
It looks like we will be able to get a sample and sort it out in February at the latest. Please look forward to next year's coffee from Ethiopia.
Finally, as you know, Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency due to clashes between the TPLF (Digray People's Liberation Front) and the current government.
The capital city of Addis Ababa seems to be relatively calm, but the domestic transportation network is restricted due to security checks, making it difficult to access the production area.
It is a multi-ethnic country with more than 80 different ethnic groups, so it may not be possible to solve the problem easily, but I strongly hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible.
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