- Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, has threaten to take coffee stocks held by producers if they are not sold to government, blaming the country’s current economic crisis on producers keeping piles in warehouses.
Local reports said some exporters have been reluctant to sell their beans through the country's new electronic commodity exchange, which began trading coffee in December last year.
However, Mr Zenawi issued a stern warning to exporters in January, threatening to cut off their hands if they did not sell stocks, which they are reportedly keeping in hope of better prices in global markets.
Coffee which is the country’s top foreign exchange earner has experienced a decline estimated at approximately 40 percent since December. But President Melez said the government may use the law and would forcibly sell stocks it would get from the exporter’s warehouses.
Mr Melez who addressed a full house of lawmakers said coffee export has significantly been lessened, alleging that farmers are stuffing their piles in warehouses in anticipation of higher global prices.
"Those who are not providing their coffee to the market, according to the laws we have in this country, the government is going to sell the coffee. They have been given warning," he said.
Ethiopia is Africa's biggest coffee producer, its produce accounted for about 60 percent of the nation's foreign exchange revenue in the 2007 to 2008 June to July season.
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