Some 460 km to the southwest of Addis Ababa, we find the Kaffa zone. Here where coffee is said to have been discovered, wild Arabica coffee still flourishes in the volcanic soils of the forest understory, high on the slopes of the surrounding mountains.
The Kaffa region was once dominated by spreading rainforest. But when coffee prices declined, farmers turned to other crops, and to grow those crops, they began destroying the rainforest until the jungle had been reduced to a bare 3% of its original area.
However, there is a large-scale conservation project in operation in which the last wild stock of rainforest coffee is being carefully preserved and cultivated. Approximately 30 co-ops harvest and market this coffee to specialty markets, and over 40,000 people are seeing a boost in their income as a result. Furthermore, in 2010, Part of the Kaffa province was officially recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and in 2012, lions were photographed there for the first time.