Pre-establishment context


Considering the huge potential of southwestern parts of Ethiopia, especially YekiGodareSheko Bebeka and surrounding areas, for coffee and spices production and aiming at boosting up the production in the area through research support, the Jimma Agricultural Research Center of EIAR established a research site covering 40 hectare of land at TepiTown in 1965. After nine years of conducting lowland coffee and perennial spices research, the research site was upgraded to a research sub-center in 1974.


A number of research achievements have been made during this phase of the center, particularly in spices. In southwestern Ethiopia where coffee-based farming is practiced, spices are the basic commodities as sources of income for most of the farmers. The sub-center was supporting small-scale farmers as well as commercial farms by providing improved technologies of spices as well as lowland coffee technologies, thereby significantly increasing productivity for the last three decades. In July 2001 EC, the sub-center was upgraded to and inaugurated as Tepi National Spices Research Center.

Livelihood options in the area

The dominant livelihood income sources in lowland woredas (esp. in Yeki) are coffee, cereals, spices and livestock. Coffee and lowland spices compose the major share of cash income, while maize and sorghum are produced for home consumption. Communities residing in highland woredas (Masha and Andrancha) depend mainly on Enset for food and honey for cash. The major livelihood options in the Enset-honey-based farming systems are highland coffee, vegetables, and livestock such as goat, sheep, and cattle. In majang zones the major livelihood source of income is honey production in natural forests. Bench Maji zone has different agro-ecologies with diverse livelihood options. In highland ecologies, coffee-cereals compose the major livelihood income source, while in the vast lowland areas, livestock-cereal production dominates.


The Center was established with the objective of improving the coffee and spice potential of southwestern Ethiopia with improved technologies. The research areas focused mainly on generating improved lowland coffee and perennial and seed spices varieties adaptable to wider agro-ecologies; developing coffee and spices agronomic practices and postharvest handling and processing technologies. A number of coffee and spices technologies have been generated so far through the Center’s coordination system. Based on this, five lowland coffee and fifteen perennial and seed spices varieties have been released since its establishment. Moreover, a lot of agronomic, fertilization, IPM, IDM and postharvest processing technologies for selected improved varieties have also been generated and disseminated to end users. Some years back, the country used to importing spices form abroad to fulfill domestic demand; however, coordinated efforts in generating and delivering improved spices technologies, the country has been able even to export some spices to foreign countries. The Center’s extension system has also enabled transformation of livelihoods of a number of smallholder farmers.


Currently, the center is nationally coordinating spice research activities at national level, and a number of spice research activities in different thematic areas are being undertaken under three research projects, that is, Generation and Popularization of Perennial Spices Technologies in EthiopiaDevelopment and Popularization of Seed Spices Technologies in Ethiopia, and Development and Popularization of Integrated Ginger Bacterial Wilt Management in Ethiopia. Besides, cross-cutting research activities in horticulture, cereal and pulses; soil fertility and irrigation management; agricultural economics, extension and gender mainstreaming; nutrition and quality; and seed research on spice commodities are being carried out by the center. The Center is also conducting livestock research in apiculture, sericulture, poultry, forage and cattle.


Location: Yeki Wereda, Sheka Zone of the SNNPR State, ~600 km southwest of Addis Ababa.

Geographic coordinates:  7°3’ N and 35°18’ E

Altitude: 1,200 m.a.s.l.

AEZ(s): 726,902 ha in warm per-humid lowlands; 645,732 ha in warm humid lowlands; 362,254 ha in warm moist lowlands

Soil type(s): Dominate soils (in warm and humid forest environments): Humic Nitisols, Eutric Fluvisols, and chromic Cambisols. Less prevalent soils (in arid environments):Solonchaks and Calcisols.

Water resources: Rivers and springs. BekoOlmuKashuGomish, and Gacheb are rivers with high irrigation potential suitable for agriculture. 

Average annual rainfall gain:




Tel: +251 47 556 0356/1841

Fax: +25147 556 0087

P.O. Box: 34

Tepi National Spices Research Center