Can Coffee Traders be Trusted?
The Ethiopia Strategy Support Program and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute jointly held a half day research seminar on coffee trading in Ethiopia on November 18, 2014 in the EDRI training room. The seminar workshop under the title “Can Agricultural Traders be Trusted? Evidence from Ethiopia” was presented by Thomas W. Assefa and Bart Minten from IFPRI, ESSP.
The seminar focused particularly on coffee traders in Addis Ababa by looking into trust issues that result from food price volatility, adulteration, and uncompetitive behavior of coffee traders. It also addressed the role of the state in market regulation and also looked at existing modern market practices in Addis.
Presenters briefed conclusions from the study conducted on randomly selected coffee traders, and supermarkets, minimarkets and regular shops from few sub cities and kebeles. Regarding the trust issue, the research concluded that cheating is insignificant when it comes to the weight of coffee in traditional market but that stated origins of coffee often used as quality indicators by traders do not make a difference in prices. Though modern markets deliver high quality and more processed coffee at a higher price, they are not more trustworthy than traditional markets. According to the study, existing market regulations are not effective and that there is a flourishing informal market for coffee.
Participants suggested looking at more aspects in coffee trading and that conclusions be supported with more evidence and to investigate if the same study can be applicable to other agricultural products.