Coffee from Jimma accounts for about 35% of the dry and 40% of the wet processed coffee exported from Oromia region. As one of the major cash crops in Jimma zone more than 65% of the population earn their livelihood (directly or indirectly) from coffee. Based on data from the zonal office of agriculture, it seems there are 64 private investors working on 13,532 hectares of land and 258 coffee processing plants (146 wet and 112 dry coffee processing plants) in Jimma zone. It is also estimated that 112,000 tons of coffee fruits are produced in Jimma zone in a year.
Research results indicate that coffee by-products are a source of severe contamination of rivers and therefore cause serious environmental problems. For this reason, efforts are being made to utilize the by-products. For instance, coffee pulp can be used in the production of feed and compost. Coffee pulp can also replace up to 20% of commercial concentrates in dairy cattle feeding with no adverse effects. Results from feeding studies also indicate that maize can be substituted by dehydrated coffee pulp up to 16% of the total ration, with no detrimental effect on weight gain or feed conversion. Professor Solomon Demeke, a nutritionist in Jimma University, explains that good quality silage can be produced either only from coffee pulp or in combination with forages for dairy feeding.
The use of pulp is not limited to these but also for firewood as it is or by making briquettes for energy. Coffee pulp is also a good source of humus and organic soil carbon which is good for improving soil quality as well.
The common practice in coffee processing plants in Jimma zone is to discard coffee pulp and it is common to see heaps of coffee pulp along roads and in and around the premises of processing plants. Some people however use the pulp as a source of fuel in restaurants. Kahsay Berhe, a research officer in LIVES, also explains that farmers near coffee processing plants in the southern parts of Ethiopia use pulp for composting and fertilization of their coffee tree. There is at least one small factory in Addis which is producing briquettes as a source of energy for specialized stoves.
Out of 100 kg of coffee fruit, about 52% is coffee bean and 48% is by-products (waste, pulp mainly) which means that about 54,000 tons of coffee pulp is produced from Jimma zone, annually.
There is a great potential for LIVES and its partners in Jimma zone to explore ways to the use coffee pulp as a source of alternative livestock feed that is cost effective, locally accessible and sustainable.
Written by: Gemeda Duguma with contribution from Abule Ebro, Nigatu Alemayehu, Adisu Abera and Kahsay Berhe