Kaffa Province

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Location of Kaffa within the Ethiopian Empire

Kaffa (Kefa) was a province on the southwestern side of Ethiopia; its capital city was Bonga. It was named after the former Kingdom of Kaffa. The etymology of Kaffa is thought to be from the Arabic qahwah meaning "a drink from berries".[1] The English word coffee is derived from the same root.

Kaffa was bordered on the west by South Sudan, on the northwest by Illubabor, on the north by Walega, on the northeast by Shewa, on the east by Sidamo, and on the southeast by Gamu-Gofa.

For the former province, see Keffa Province.

Keffa is a Zone in the Ethiopian Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR). Keffa is bordered on the south by Debub Omo, on the southwest by Bench Maji, on the west by Sheka, on the north by the Oromia Region, and on the east by Konta. Gojeb River runs along part of the northern border of this zone. The administrative center of Keffa is Bonga. Keffa formed the main part of former Keficho Shekicho Zone. Demographics

Based on the 2017 Census conducted by the CSA, this Zone has a total population of 2,100,000, of whom 1,317,078 are men and 783,022women; 152,036 or 9.44% are urban inhabitants. The four largest ethnic groups reported in this Zone were the Kafficho (82.72%), the Bench (5.05%), the Amhara (3.67%), and the Oromo (3.5%); all other ethnic groups made up 5.09% of the population. Kafa is spoken as a first language by 82.49%, 4.18% speak Amharic, 5.13% Bench, and 3.43% speak Oromiffa; the remaining 4.77% spoke all other primary languages reported. 61.42% of the population said they practiced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, 24.84% were Protestants, 6.2% were Muslim, 5.37% practiced traditional beliefs, and 1.73% embraced Catholicism.[1]

Economy and environment[edit]

Southern Ethiopia, including Sidamo, Kaffa, Arsi and Harar is the original home of coffee [2] which grows wild here in the mountain rain forests in countless varieties. All plants of the species Coffea arabica around the world are descendants of plants from southern Ethiopia.[3]

Coffee has long been the main source of income, but due to the sharply declining world prices for coffee, the residents increasingly have to grow other crops. By turning rain forests into new agricultural land, the structure of the region is heavily damaged.

The rain forests that dominated the region of Kaffa earlier are reduced to only 3% of their original size, in the last 30 years 60% of the trees were lost.

For some years there is a large rain forest conservation project, which relies on the use of the last wild stocks of coffee growing in the rain forest. Currently, some 30 cooperatives are harvesting and marketing this specialty coffee and have helped over 40,000 people to get income.

In 2010, an area within the Kaffa province was recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve as part of the Man and the Biosphere Programme. Officially named the "Kafa Biosphere Reserve" it is one of the first two biosphere reserves in Ethiopia and aims to protect the natural environment and foster sustainable development in the region.[4] Lions were photographed in the reserve in 2012, the first documenting of that species in montane rainforest.[5]


  1. ^ Wilhelm Sturmfels and Heinz Bischof: Unsere Ortsnamen im ABC erklärt nach Herkunft und Bedeutung, Bonn, 1961, Ferdinand Dümmlers Verlag
  2. ^ Halevy Alon, Halevy Oriana (2011) "The Infinite Emotions of Coffee" pp. 32 "the Arabica coffee tree originated from Southwestern Ethiopia".
  3. ^ Halevy Alon, Halevy Oriana (2011) "The Infinite Emotions of Coffee" pp. 32 "the Arabica coffee tree originated from Southwestern Ethiopia".
  4. ^ Kafa Biosphere Reserve, retrieved 16 October 2012
  5. ^ Africa lions documented in montane rain forest for the very first time

Coordinates: 7°N 37°E / 7°N 37°E / 7; 37