The price of the popular spice on Ethiopian cuisine, Corrorima, which is also known as Ethiopian Aframomum, or false cardamom, has massively dropped due to the aftermath effect of COVID-19 and initiative for mass production besides the traditional wild harvest.
Experts in the spice industry said that Corrorima that was sold about 380 birr per kilogram about three years ago has lost its value significantly in the latest market.
As per the market observation Capital conducts at Addis Ababa on average the price of the popular spice that is mainly used for berbere, hot spice blend that is an integral ingredient in Ethiopian cuisine, and nit’ir qibe, clarified butter with different species, is now about 80 birr per KG.
Capital observed that besides the price reduction the product is also easily seen everywhere even street vendors are selling it, which is highly uncommon in the past.
According to Addisu Alemayehu founder and board secretary of the Ethiopian Spices, Aromatic and Herbs Growers and Processors Association (ESAHGPA) and owner of Dabase Business Group Plc, the price reduction is related with the initiative and incidents happened in the past three years.
“There are different initiatives conducted by NGOs to modernize the production and harvest Corrorima. In the past the spice was cultivated wildly, where women who harvested the product have been vulnerable for rape and attack by wild animals and besides that it is also related to deforestation issue that attracts NGOs to change the circumstance to cultivate the plant in their backyards,” he said.
Through the cultivation practice change scheme, NGOs have been aggressively producing the seedling and distributed it for farmers in the past couple of years, “now the plant is giving its production, which increases the output of Corrorima.”
Moges Ashenafi, Spice Extension and Production Team Leader at Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA), said that despite the initiative to release new Corrorima verities breeds at this stage is very limited but the output is growing due to coffee farmers who are mainly producing Corrorima aligned with their coffee bush are expanding their production, “farmers are diversifying their production to expand their income when the price of coffee shows reduction.”
“Expanding and starting producing through farmlands besides the traditional wild cultivation of Corrorima will be stated as the expansion of the product,” Moges told Capital.
As additional reason Addisu said that in relation with the dropdown of the hospitality and tourism industry because of COVID 19 the interest to buy the spices drops down.
He said that most of Corrorima users are hotels and restaurants, while the sector is affected by the pandemic. “Four percent of berbere is Corrorima, which means four KG of Corrorima spice is used to prepare a quintal of the spicy red pepper powder and similarly the spice is the major source to prepare nit’ir qibe (clarified butter), and other Ethiopian cuisine ingredients, “while the pandemic and the conflict affects major users at the hospitality industry that gradually affects the price of the spice.”
Moges on the other hand said that it is the harvest season so that may not reflect the real market rate “in the harvest season the price may reduce but it does not mean that it shows real price of the spice.”
Head of ESAHGPA estimated that at the current stage the output of Corrorima is about 250,000 quintal, which was about 16,000 quintal about a decade ago, and 150,000 quintal in the 2018/19 harvest season.
He said that since the formation of ECTA, which is also responsible to regulate the production and marketing of spices, data collection has increased that may the reason to show massive multiplication for the spice production.
Corrorima is mainly cultivated in the southwestern and southern part of Ethiopia, while miner production is harvested around Jawi in Gojam.
The export market is mainly aligned with the Diaspora, even if some portion the spice exported for Saudi Arabia market.
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