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Institute For The Promotion of Ethiopian Exporters


Exported Ethiopian Products

More than 90% of the nation’s harvested coffee is organically produced. The inherently superior quality of Ethiopian highland Arabica coffee is unmatched, particularly in flavour and aroma. Ethiopia also produces several types of coffee, the water soluble extracts of which can be used for hot beverages, iced drinks, ice creams and in the confectionery industries.
Livestock Products
Ethiopia offers a wide range of processed and semi-processed hides and skins to the world market. Some of the products, such as Ethiopian highland sheepskin, which has gained international reputation for making gloves, are well-known for their quality and natural characteristics.
The high quality Ethiopian hides and skins exports include:

  • Pickled sheep skin, wet blue sheep skin, crust sheep skin, wet blue goat skin, crust goat skin, crust cow hides, finished garment leather, finished glove leather, lining/upper leather, suede leather, full grain leather, corrected grain leather, embossed leather and patent leather

The export of finished leather and leather products (such as leather garments, foot wear, gloves, bags and other leather articles) is also highly promising.
Live Animals and Meat
With the largest livestock population in Africa, Ethiopia has an ample supply base for the export of live animals and meat. Its livestock resources are estimated at 27 million cattle, 24 million sheep and 18 million goats.
Livestock husbandry is mostly carried out under natural grazing, making the meat and meat products obtained from the animals very tasty and nutritionally healthy for human consumption. Ethiopia’s main exports of live animals and meat products include:

  • Steers and yearlings;
  • Low land sheep and goats;
  • Fresh and chilled lamb and mutton carcass;
  • Fresh and chilled goat carcass;
  • Fresh and chilled veal carcass and beef four quarters;
  • Fresh and chilled boneless veal and beef;
  • Frozen lamb, mutton, goat carcass, veal and beef special cuts

Oilseeds and Pulses
Ethiopian oilseeds and pulses are known for their flavour and nutritional value as they are mostly produced organically. For instance, the Ethiopian white sesame seed is used as a reference for grading in international markets.
Major oilseeds and pulses exports include:

  • Sesame seed, Niger seeds, linseeds, sunflower seeds, groundnuts, rape seeds, castor oil seeds, pumpkin seeds, haricot beans, pea-beans, horse beans, chick peas, lentils.

The Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel), European Union, some Asian and neighbouring African countries constitute the major markets for Ethiopia’s oilseeds and pulses exports.
Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers
With a favourable climate, abundant labour, land and water resources, most regions of the country are suitable for the production of a wide range of tropical and sub-tropical fruits, vegetables and flowers.
The major vegetable export products are:

  • Potatoes, green beans, okra, melons, white and red onions, shallots, cabbages, leeks, beetroots, carrots, green chillis, tomatoes and lettuce.

The main exportable fruits are:

  • Oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, mangos, guavas, lemons and lime.

Cut-flower exports include:

  • Statices, alliums, roses and carnations.

Textile Fabrics and Garments
The textile industry is the largest manufacturing industry in the country. There are more than fourteen state-owned and private major textile and garment factories. It employs around 30,000 workers and constitutes a share of 36% of the entire manufacturing industry.
The main textile products manufactured in the country are cotton and nylon fabrics, acrylic yarn, woollen and waste cotton blankets and sewing thread. The cotton yarn and thread products include :

  • Yarn/bleached or grey/combed or carded 81/2, 10, 21 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 counts, and others that are in line with customer requirements.
  • Pure polyester and cotton sewing thread in different colours and counts
    • 40/3, 50/3, 60/3 pure cotton;
    • 60/3, 100% polyesters;
    • 5,000 or 1,000 meters in spool;
    • 5,000 or 10,000 meters in cones for industrial use.

The domestic potential of cotton production, such as basic raw material is much larger, compared to the demand of the currently installed spinning capacity. The availability of cheap labour is one of the major parameters for consideration in this industrial sector, as it presents one of the strategic industries for export development.
Natural Gum
Ethiopia is endowed with distinct climatic conditions that enables it to grow diverse plant species, which can be used for industrial and pharmaceutical purposes. Acacia, Commiphora and Boswellia could be mentioned as one group of the various plant species grown in the arid and semi-arid areas that yield important gums.
The trend that has enhanced the growth of gum production over the past decade has been the increasing consumption of convenience foods. As in most other sectors of the additives industry, increasing health consciousness has tended to fuel growth for thickeners of natural origin.
Gum Olibanum derived from Boswellia, gum Myrrh, and Oppoponex derived from Commiphora and gum Arabic derived from acacia species are the major gum products that are mainly produced for the export market.
Apart from their pharmaceutical applications, these products have a wide-range of industrial uses in areas such as beverages, candies, chewing gums, confectioneries, dairy products, gelatines, nut products, puddings and canned vegetables. Typical applications include their uses as:

  • adhesive thickeners;
  • thickeners, stabilizers, flavour, fixatives and emulsifying agents
    in food products;
  • clarification in beverages;
  • release agents for rubber products;
  • formulations in cosmetics.

The quality of tea mainly depends on climatic conditions, the type of soil upon which the plant grows and the method used in processing. In Ethiopia tea is mostly grown in the highland dense forest regions, where the land is fertile and therefore the usage of fertilizers is very minimal.
Moreover, the availability of abundant and cheap labour in the country has made the use of manual weeding (instead of chemical weeding) possible. Because of this mostly organic cultivation, Ethiopian tea is increasingly sought for its aroma and natural flavours. This is confirmed by the "International Gold Star" award for quality, which was recently awarded by the B.D.I. in Madrid, Spain to one of the major Ethiopian tea exporters “Tea Production and Marketing Enterprise”.
Mineral Products
According to studies conducted up-to-date, there are diversified mineral deposits available in many parts of the country, most of which can meet export standards. Minerals supplied to export markets as of yet include gold, platinum, marble, granite and tantalum, however, in a very limited scale as compared to the immense potential of these products. Other metallic and non-metallic substances, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gypsum, limestone, quartz and pyrite have also been identified in various parts of the country.
Most of Ethiopian mineral products are potentially exportable to countries in East and Southern Africa, and in the Asia/Oceania market areas. This is feasible in both of these regions, due to the freight cost advantages over established exports from Europe and North America.
Ethiopia has also recently started the export of high quality dimensional stones, i.e. different types of unprocessed (blocks) and processed marble, granite and lime stones suitable for both internal and external uses.
Some other products that Ethiopia exports to the world market include:

    • spices, civet, beverages, beeswax, gall-stone, cereals, and fish.
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