Bird Friendly® in Coffee's Center of Origin

Posted by Robert Rice on December 13, 2007

One of our certification agency partners out of Germany, CERES, is in Ethiopia working on shade inspections for at least two organizations interested in obtaining the Bird Friendly® seal for their coffee.

training workshop

CERES personnel being trained by staff of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to evaluate the shade cover in coffee plantations.

Assuming that some of these growers qualify by meeting the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's standards for shade-coffee management, we may soon have Bird Friendly® coffee from Africa available to importers, roasters, and the coffee-consuming public.

Such a certification would be only fitting for these coffees, considering that:

  1. the genus Coffea, to which coffee belongs, is native to Ethiopia, where it is also the most genetically diverse,
  2. historically, numerous wild species of coffee are understory shrubs in the mid-elevation forests of Ethiopia (and the Sudan), and
  3. as shade-adapted species from these habitats, coffee earning a shade certification like Bird Friendly® reflects some of the evolutionary and ecological features of coffee's native habitat and presents these to the market place.
Coffee plantation in Ethiopia with diverse canopy

Shade coffee in the Jimma region of Ethiopia. Notice the structural diversity of the shade trees.

We look forward to seeing Bird Friendly® coffee from Ethiopia join our line of Bird Friendly® coffee from the Americas. This certification not only establishes linkages among growers and environmentally-oriented consumers, but rewarding premium prices to growers who have "done the right thing" in managing their coffee for years.

Update! Ethiopian coffee is now certified.

Related Articles

→ Article Archives