Managing coffee to increase farmer’s livelihood and biodiversity in Ethiopia

Activity identifier

Coffee plays a central role in both the economy and biodiversity in many parts of Ethiopia. Besides being a culturally valued beverage, it is the main source of income for millions of Ethiopian poor smallholder farmers. Ethiopia also contain the last remaining wild coffee populations and therefore is the unique genetic reservoir of this globally important plant. From a biodiversity conservation point of view the coffee production in Ethiopia is controversial. On one hand coffee production degrades the last montane forest ecosystems due to (partial) clearings of intact forests and it also threatens the wild coffee population by introgression of genes from improved varieties grown in the vicinity of natural forests. On the other hand coffee is frequently grown under shade and shade coffee systems are globally known to be beneficial land uses for combining production and generating ecosystem services including biodiversity conservation. In this project we shall tackle this dual role of coffee, with the ultimate goal of generating knowledge that could close yield gaps and improve livelihoods of poor farmers, while at the same time saving biodiversity and optimizing the utilization of natural ecosystem services. We will work in a study landscape in SW Ethiopia in which coffee is grown in different management systems and is the main income for thousands of farmers. High biodiversity values are also present in the landscape, including wild coffee populations. Farmers struggle against fungal diseases on coffee, which they consider as the worst pests. The project is divided into four work packages (WP) which are closely linked under the umbrella of coffee yield-biodiversity variation across the landscape: WP1 will focus on understanding the drivers of the variation in coffee management systems across the landscape. WP2 will identify thresholds in biodiversity-coffee yield relationships and WP3 will investigate plant-fungi interactions of major coffee pests along this gradient in relation to both yields, variation in yields as well as biodiversity. The final WP4 will synthesize findings from the other packages. We will use satellite imagery for mapping coffee systems across the landscape (WP1), standard methods such as point count, single rope technique, netting and bagging of flowers to quantify bird, plant and pollinator diversity and function in around 50 sites across a management gradient. Coffee yield will also be assessed in these sites over several years to get a measure of the variation (WP2). In WP3 we will combine field based surveys of disease progression and genetic analyses of coffee genotypes to understand the drivers of spatial and temporal disease dynamics (epidemiology). Here we will also use the same sites as in WP2 and link it to yield dynamics and biodiversity. Kristoffer Hylander, Stockholm University, with previous extensive experiences in landscape ecology in Ethiopia, will lead the project together with Prof. Sileshi Nemomissa at Addis Ababa University who is a plant expert. Dr. Ayco Tack at Stockholm University, who has worked extensively on fungal pathogen – plant interactions, is involved in the third work package on the major fungal threats on coffee. We further collaborate with an Ethiopian coffee geneticist for plant genetic analyses. One PhD-student supervised by these tree persons and one postdoc will be appointed. We apply for a three year project that will start in January 2016 by mapping the landscape and selecting field sites for the coming fieldwork during both dry and rainy seasons during the three years. Our project will take a holistic approach to increase the knowledge of how to manage coffee systems for positive synergies between sustainable farmer’s incomes and biodiversity, and thereby tackle the negative aspects of this globally and nationally important crop. We will combine basic and applied science to give tools for a changed management towards sustainability at a landsca



Granting agency
The Swedish Research Council
Implementing organisation
Stockholms universitet
Aid type
D02 - Other technical assistance




Other multisector
Research/scientific institutions


Activity length
2016 – 2019

Financial information

Paid per year (net value)
2016 USD 140 244
2017 USD 140 400
2018 USD 138 083
Total paid amount (net value)
USD 418 727
Total committed amount


DisbursementThe amount placed at the disposal of a recipient country or agency.
Type Description Receiver Org Transaction ID Date Value
Commitment---2016-01-01USD 420 733
USD 140 244
USD 140 400
USD 138 083

This post shows the annual total amount of disbursements for this particular activity. For the current year, the figure reflects the total amount of disbursements up until the date of the latest data update. The date of the latest data update is available on Openaids startpage.


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Focus areas (policy markers)

Marker Principal objective Significant objective Not targeted
Gender Equality
Aid to Environment
Participatory Development/Good Governance
Trade Development
Aid Targeting the Objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Aid Targeting the Objectives of the Framework Convention on Climate Change - Mitigation
Aid Targeting the Objectives of the Framework Convention on Climate Change - Adaptation
Aid Targeting the Objectives of the Convention to Combat Desertification
Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH)


Activity data from IATI