Category Archives: colobus

Coffee forests of South West Ethiopia

Jimma is the gateway to an area of Ethiopia that was covered with a thick layer of forest which was sparsely populated, full of mountains, rivers, waterfalls and Black and White Colobus Monkeys. Indeed there were herds of elephants, along with much other wildlife. It was these forests that were home to the original strains of the Coffee tree, (along with forests on the east of the rift in Bale).

Vista across the forest in Bench Maji

Vista across the forest in Bench Maji

But this swathe of green is now much more checkered as settlers from other parts of Ethiopia have made this la d there home. More recently investors have been buying up chunks of forest and cutting down much of the cover if not all for coffee and tea plantations and the goring of other crops.

Forest coffee in Bench Maji

Forest coffee in Bench Maji

But still much remains of the mighty forest, with a variety of trees some of whose trunks rise 30+ meters up into the air making a wonderful green canopy. Under this canopy much of the forest has wild coffee growing. Coffee needs the shade and the best coffee has more shade, but then is less productive.

These forests also produce sweet honey coming from different flowering trees at different times of the year. The honey farmers, forest dwellers who have lived in harmony with the forest can shimmy up these huge trees, and scoop out honey from wooden hives with their bare unprotected hands getting bitten a multitude of times and shimmy back down again.  Amazing!

This is a part of Ethiopia that is really off the beaten trail, but quite spectacular!

1 Comment