Since November, Ethiopia has been heavily impacted by a political conflict that has flared up and thrown the country into turmoil: »A power struggle, an election and a push for political reform are among several factors that led to the crisis,« BBC News reports.
As the conflict intensifies fear is that it will spread to neighbouring countries. Our thoughts are with civilians who are very vulnerable at the moment.
In southern Ethiopia, you will find Metad. Metad is a family-owned company that works closely together with young and talented agronomists to further the development of high-quality coffee.
Aman Adinew is the founder and CEO of Metad, and their tremendous work is an inspiration to all of us. Luckily the political conflict hasn't spiralised to the southern regions where Metad is situated, and we were able to get in contact with Tariku Adinew who is Aman's younger brother and in charge of sales and logistics.
Casper: I hope everything is okay with you guys, and that everyone you know is safe. As we are not able to visit you this year, we will really miss seeing you and catching up!
We hear you. I do not think we will have any visitors this year for obvious reasons. This too shall pass and we will see you next year.
Casper: How are you affected by this situation in the Tigray Region?
As of now, we are not directly impacted by the unfortunate situation. However, like any conflict, we are keeping a close eye so that if things get out of control, we have a plan in place for the safety of all involved.
Casper: What is the situation like in your country regarding coronavirus right now?
From the start of the pandemic up until about a month ago, the government was taking serious steps to ensure that the virus does not spread wildly. Currently, there are ~37K active cases and only ~1600 deaths reported from the start of the pandemic.
The official numbers announced from Ethiopia are 1,600 deaths in total and 107,000 cases in total (November 26, 2020).
Tariku continues, considering we have well over 100M in population, those are relatively good numbers. One thing that is concerning is that the government has lifted some of the strict measures, including the closures of nightclubs, etc. Of course, we do not believe the testing efforts are sufficient to cover our large population…but the government is doing its best with the resources it has.
Casper: Do you feel safe or is there a sense of uncertainty?
Work has to go on…we just need to adapt to the new reality and take an extra cautious approach. Even when we went to make the second payments of the year to our out-growers, we took extra precautions to prevent any spread of the virus. As expected, it took us longer to make the payments as we were only making payments to a small number of members per day.
Casper: Has the work on the farm been impacted in any way by coronavirus?
So far, it has not been impacted. However, as I stated above, it will take extra efforts by our staff to monitor and enforce safety measures in addition to their primary job responsibilities. We might see a decline in labor availability as well due to the pandemic.
Tariku and the team at Metad are in good spirit. We are very happy that we were able to get in contact with the coffee producer, and we hope the best for them and their families.
Stay tuned for the next update!