Ethiopia is over 3,000 years old, making it the oldest country in sub-saharan Africa. Its land area is twice as large as Texas with a population in excess of 75 million. Its physical features range from one of the most inhospitable places on the planet, the below sea level Danakil Depression, to soaring mountain ranges with heights of over 15,000 feet. Due to its formidable topography it is one of only a few countries on the continent never to have been colonized. The weather throughout much of the country is ideal with daytime temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees. The primary rainy season extends from May until September but long periods of sunshine are experienced even during these months.
The coffee plant and its uses were discovered in Ethiopia and today it is the country's most valuable export followed by hides and skins and a rapidly growing cut flower industry. Approximately 90% of the population makes their living through agriculture. It has one of the lowest per capita income levels in the world with the average person making less than $1.00 a day.
Due to the scarcity of available land and the large number of children in the typical family, the average size of farms is less than 2 acres. The country is agriculturally self sufficient but only when the rains are adequate, a situation which is becoming less reliable over time