Hardworking farmers cultivating crops on their family owned plots established the Jimmate cooperative in 2004. These farmers grow their coffee in the deep shade of the surrounding forest. Jimmate farmers also cultivate food crops, vegetables, and various fruit trees for their own consumption. Jimmate families also often times keep a goat, cow, sheep, oxen, and chicken to supplement their crop earnings. These farmers usually live in circular thatch homes without running water or electricity. The cooperative resides near the birthplace of world-renowned coffee Arabica, and coffee is the most dominant crop of the area. The Jimmate cooperative can be found in the highlands of southwest Ethiopia, Oromia state, Jimma zone, and Limu Kosa woreda. It is 92 km from the city of Jimma and 17 km from woreda capital, Limu Genet. A main road 15 km away allows year round access to the site. The surrounding area is mountainous with undulating ridges. Coffee catchment areas can be found between 1,700 and 2,000 m altitude with a wet mill located 1t 1,800m. The Jimmate area dedicates over 1,900 ha to coffee forest, 2,700 ha for cultivation, 450 ha as grazing land, and 10 ha as a natural forest. TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative supports the Jimmate cooperative by providing business advice and technical support. These farmers have then been able to increase production and improve the quality of their coffee. With these advancements, Jimmate farmers are able to raise their standard of living and fight the conditions of poverty. TechnoServe collaborates with farmers and acts to enhance the Jimmate market chain through their service provider, the Limu union, and also connects them to international specialty coffee buyers. Jimmate farmers fulfilled TechnoServe selection criteria and were able to construct and operate a wet mill in 2009. These farmers previously produced lower quality coffee and sold it for decreased prices determined by local traders. In 2009, the average prices were 5 birr/kg for red cherry and 15 birr/kg for dry cherry. Due to the low prices, farmers were unable to benefit from coffee farming. Wet mill operation began in 2010 and is expected to produce a 50% overall boost in farmer income. With increasingly strong leadership and membership commitment, the cooperative was able to produce a specialty coffee that received a cupping test result of 86.5 points, a CPQI of 14, and a red cherry to parchment ratio of 20%. In 2010, the farmers received 11 birr/kg of red cherry. The wet mill is located at an altitude of 1,800m Over 1,900 ha in the area is dedicated to coffee cultivation. The wet mill machine was imported from Brazil and has a capacity of 2,200kg/hour, processing roughly 190,000 kg of red cherry in 2010. Jimmate farmers are advancing their agronomy techniques, as they increasingly practice shading, mulching, and agroforestry. These farmers use compost and manure as fertilizer and without agrochemicals, making their coffee completely organic. The wet mill receives water from a nearby perennial river. Pulp byproduct created during processing is used for composting in a dugout pit or covered by soil above ground. The waste water is filtered by planted vetiver grass and moves into a lagoon and evaporation storage pit. Operators, an industry manager, an accountant, a storekeeper, guards, and daily laborers staff the wet mill. All employees have open access to meet and discuss with the management. There is also access to a clean water supply and pit latrines on site. There are 1,711 farmers in the Jimmate area in Peasant Associations. The Jimmate cooperative currently has 1,319 members of the wet mill.
Transparency is an important driver of efficiency and good governance at cooperatively-owned coffee wet mills and can lead to higher farm-gate prices. Coffeetransparency.com collates the most important production and financial information from participating wet mill businesses - from export revenues to incomes -and organizes this information into a two-page transparency sheet. The left-hand numbers are key indicators of production efficiency and farmer income for the most recently completed coffee season.
Adopting business practices that treat workers and suppliers ethically and fairly, protect the environment, and promote economic transparency will build the foundation for a sustainable business. Participating wet mills and supplying farmers are trained and audited on a set of sustainability standards that focus on 5 categories – social responsibility & ethics, occupational health & safety, environmental responsibility, economic transparency and production & farm management. The numbers on the left track compliance against best practices in each category from the most recently completed sustainability audit.