The quality of coffee produced in Gamo Gofa zone is declining from time to time due to improper harvesting and post-harvest management practices. Consequently, coffee produced under home garden is recognized as forest coffee at national market. Therefore, this study was conducted during 2012-2013 with the objective of assessing factors affecting coffee quality during and after harvest. Totally, 160 household respondents were used from three Woredas for data collection from relevant stakeholders, that is, farmers, middlemen (agents and traders) coffee processors and extension workers. Secondary data on coffee grades was also collected from the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) coffee inspection laboratory located at Wolaita Soddo. Finally, quantitative data was analyzed by employing SPSS (version 20). The results indicated that most of respondents (79.4%) harvest their coffee at majority red ripe stage. Concerning harvesting method, 51.3% of respondents practice selective hand picking, while the rest 48.1% harvest by striping on the ground and collect together with previously dropped cherries. However, appropriate harvesting materials which were reported to have no contact with other chemicals were used by 95% of respondents. From post-harvest handling point of view, coffee drying places (69.4%), lack of appropriate drying (53.8%) and method of harvesting (48.1%) were the top three factors which are significantly affecting coffee quality in Gamo Gofa zone among others. However, 95% of respondents used appropriate harvesting materials, that is, local containers which were reported to have no contact with other chemicals. The results of ECX coffee grading showed that majority of coffee received grade seven, eight and nine out of nine scale commercial grades. Even through, inherent quality of coffee being grown in Gamo Gofa zone is good with bold beans. Thus, improvement on the way people harvest and handle their coffee to maintain inherent coffee quality in Gamo Gofa zone is recommended.
Key words: Coffee quality, harvest, post-harvest, forest coffee, Gamo Gofa.
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