Coffee has its genetic hearth in the south west highlands of Ethiopia. This is where Arabica coffee originated and was first domesticated. The forests with this globally important wild coffee genetic resource are under threat from deforestation and degradation. Government resources are limited and the traditional approach whereby communities have been excluded from the forest to ‘protect’ the genetic resources has often had negative results.
The CCWC-NFM Project aims to maintain the wild coffee gene pool using a Participatory Forest Management (PFM) approach through which responsibilities for forest protection and management are devolved to communities. Local communities are empowered to protect the forest as well as to sustainably manage and harvest forest products such as wild coffee and honey. They are also supported in building national and international value chains. Forests and the coffee gene pool are maintained and the wellbeing and livelihoods of local communities improved.
The project works in southwest Ethiopia in SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region) in four woredas (districts): Sheko, North Bench, Yeki and Guraferda which contain three important forest areas, Kontir Berhan and Amora Gedel in Sheko, and Guraferda forest in Guraferda.