Dika Gabe cooperative was formed when 4 rural kebeles joined together in 1970; Dildila Boru, Kakahi Badessa, Gaggi Bechane, and Babbe Tokkuma. Hardworking coffee farmers striving to improve their businesses and livelihoods populate these kebeles. In addition to coffee, farmers also cultivate maize, sorghum, teff, wheat, and barley to supplement their income from coffee. They also rear animals and plant fruit trees. Most of these farmers reside in circular thatch grass roofed homes nestled in the Ethiopian forest devoid of electricity and clean water sources. This cooperative can be found in the southwest region of Ethiopia in the Oromia state, Ilubabour zone, and Gore woreda. The cooperative is about 280 km away from the city of Jimma and 15 km away from the zonal town of Mettu. The site can be easily accessed during dry season, but with more difficulty during the Ethiopian summer, by a main road 5 km away. Undulating ridges and highland forest characterize the surrounding area. The coffee catchment area is between 1,800 and 2,200 m altitude with a wet mill located at 1,940 m. The soil of the area is a clay loam type. 1,938 ha are dedicated to coffee cultivation. 142 ha are plantation coffee trees, and the remaining 1,796 ha is forest coffee trees. An additional 52 ha are forest area, 196 ha are for animal grazing land, and 2,383 ha is dedicated to various food crops. TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative supports the Dika Gabe cooperative. By receiving business advice and technical support, these farmers have been able to increase production and improve their coffee quality. With these advancements, Dika Gabe farmers are able to raise their standard of living and fight the conditions of poverty. TechnoServe collaborates with farmers to better their market chain and connect them to international specialty coffee buyers. Dika Gabe farmers fulfilled TechnoServe criteria and were able to build and operate a wet mill in 2010. Prior to the introduction of a wet mill, Tencho farmers produced lower quality coffee and sold it for decreased prices determined by private traders. In 2008 and 2009, the average price for coffee was 3 birr/kg for red cherry. Due to the low prices, farmers were thus unable to benefit from coffee farming. Wet mill operation began in 2010 and is expected to produce a 50% overall boost in farmer income. There are over 1,471 farmers between the 4 kebeles. Their coffee earned a cupping result of 83%, a CPQI of 14, and a 5 to 1 cherry to parchment ratio. With over 1,938 ha dedicated to coffee in the area, the wet mill was able to process over 84,548 kg of red cherry in the 70-day processing season. The wet mill is located at an altitude of 1,940 m. Dika Gabe farmers are advancing their farm maintenance skills, as they are increasingly practicing land preparation, varietal plantation, the use of natural tree shade, and mulching. Farmers cultivate their coffee in their highland farms under the shade of the surrounding forest. There is also no use of agrochemicals on their coffee. The wet mill receives water from a perennial river. The pulp byproduct created during processing is used to prepare compost in a dug pit or covered by soil above ground. The excess water is treated in a dug out lagoon and filtered by planted vetivar grass. The wet mill has hired an administrative staff of a manager, accountant, storekeeper, and guards, along with hired daily laborers. The site also has a clean water supply and pit latrines available for workers. There are currently 2011 members of the Dika Gabecooperative wet mill. There are 1,268 potential members in the surrounding area.
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.