Established in 1997 by coffee farmers, these people utilize the indigenous Ethiopian forest to cultivate high quality coffee. Coffee is the main cash crop of the area, and these farmers depend on the crop as their main source of income. In addition to coffee growing, Angecha farmers also tend to annual crops and rear animals such as cattle, sheep, goat, and chicken for domestic consumption and extra income. Angecha farmers enjoy high forest coverage and also practice traditional bee keeping, hanging beehives in the surrounding trees to produce organic honey. Harvesting honey further supplements the subsistence farming practices that these peaceful farmers employ. Biftu Angecha cooperative is located in southwest Ethiopia, Oromia regional state, Jimma Zone, Shebe Sombo woreda, and Angecha Kebele. The cooperative is roughly 420 km from Addis Ababa, 68 km from the town of Jimma, and 18 km from Shebe woreda. The road connecting Shebe and Angecha is suited for all weathers, but the absence of two bridges over local rivers restrict access during the rainy season. The area surrounding the cooperative is somewhat mountainous with gentle and steep slopes mostly covered with dense forest and vegetation. The area has a Weinadega and Kolla climate with mainly red to black clay soil. The cooperative is located at an altitude of 1500m. Angecha farmers utilize their land by growing coffee, maize, sorghum, and teff. Angecha farmers are assisted by TechnoServe Ethiopia’s Coffee Initiative program. The initiative endeavors to improve coffee quality and increase production quantity in order to enhance the living standard of the smallholder Angecha farmers. By improving the market chain through the Oromia union service provider connecting Angecha to international buyers, the farmers will be able to better their livelihood. TechnoServe provides business advice and technical support and provided resources for the construction of a wet mill. With strong leadership, commitment, and bank loans, Angecha began wet mill operation in 2010. The farmers previously sold their coffee as dry cherry in local markets. Local traders had the power to determine prices and as a result, farmers were unable to benefit from coffee production. In 2009 and 2010, prices for coffee were 3 birr/kg for red cherry and 6.75 birr/kg for dry cherry. Wet mill processing began in 2010 at an altitude of 1,500 m, increasing the quality and quantities of coffee Angecha farmers were able to produce. The cooperative produces high quality coffee with a CPQI of 14.5 points and cherry to parchment ratio of 20.9%. The Angecha wet mill is located at an elevation of 1500m with 1,320 hectare dedicated to coffee. In 2010, the farmers were able to produce 8,238kg of red cherry coffee. Angecha farmers cultivate their coffee in small plots and hillsides near their homesteads. Under the natural shade of dense forest canopies, Angecha farmers produce completely natural and organic coffee with no use of agrochemicals such as pesticides or insecticides. The wet mill receives clean water from a seasonal river. Wastewater is channeled to a lagoon and filtered by planted vetivar grass. The pulp byproduct is mixed and composted with soil to be reused as a fertilizer. Wet mill operators, an industry manager, an accountant, a storekeeper, guards, and daily laborers staff the Biftu Angecha cooperative. 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.
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.