Project will turn degraded forests into coffee farms

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Project will turn degraded forests into coffee farms

Minister Park Chong-ho of the Korea Forest Service, sixth from left, Ambassador for Climate Change Yoo Yeon-chul of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, fifth from left, and Ethiopian Ambassador to Korea Shiferaw Shigute Wolassa, seventh from left, pose after the signing of a partnership at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [KOREA FOREST SERVICE]

Minister Park Chong-ho of the Korea Forest Service, sixth from left, Ambassador for Climate Change Yoo Yeon-chul of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, fifth from left, and Ethiopian Ambassador to Korea Shiferaw Shigute Wolassa, seventh from left, pose after the signing of a partnership at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [KOREA FOREST SERVICE]

 
The Korea Forest Service and the Ethiopian government will work together to transform degraded forests in the African country into coffee farms.
 
On Wednesday, officials of the Korea Forest Service, Global Green Growth Institute, SK Forest, and Tree Planet got together to sign an agreement for the project at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, central Seoul.  
 
The Korea Forest Service first started developing the project in September 2019. The office will help the Ethiopian government restore the forests and develop them into a farm to produce coffee using ecofriendly methods that will not harm the soil. According to the local government office, Ethiopia produces "specialty coffee" — approved by the U.S. Specialty Coffee Association — that’s cultivated under the shade of large trees instead of in large agricultural plantations. A unique flavor and fragrance is the result.  
 
The project will employ residents of different ethnic groups in the region, helping to bring peace to the area and boost the local economy. Regions in Ethiopia that experienced conflict between ethnic groups will be the target locations of the project. A definite location will be decided this year.
 
In March, it was selected as one of the 13 projects to receive funding from the Partnering for Green Growth (P4G) and the Global Goals 2030 — an international initiative with 12 member countries — to mitigate climate change and foster sustainable growth. It was granted a $95,000 budget between 2020 and 2021.  
 
SK Forest and Tree Planet — a Korean startup that heads forest restoration projects using crowd funding — are also part of the initiative. SK will offer technology and information on farming methods. Tree Planet will take charge of coming up with a distribution channel for the produced coffee, which will be shipped and sold in Korea.  
 
“The two-year project will also result in establishing infrastructure in the region, like electricity and water supply facilities,” SK Forest said in a statement.  
 
“It is meaningful that we are taking the first step of Peace Forest Initiative in Ethiopia, the only African country that sent ground forces troops as reinforcement during the Korean War, to enhance peace and trust between multiple ethnic groups of the region,” said Korea Forest Service Minister Park Chong-ho.  
 
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON   [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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