Harewa Gatira farmers are spread across the magnificent highlands of Southwest and Southern Ethiopia, and cultivate their coffee on family owned plots. Coffee is the most dominant crop of the area and provides the majority of the farmers’ income. These farmers also cultivate food crops like teff, barley, wheat, beans, pea, and vegetables for domestic consumption. Families frequently keep goats, cows, sheep, ox, or chicken to supplement their income. Most of these farmers live in circular thatch homes that lack running water and electricity. The cooperative is found in southwest Ethiopia in the Oromia state, Jimma Zone, and Limu Kosa woreda. It is 107 km from the city of Jimma, and 32km from district capital Limu Genet. The site can be accessed during dry season by a main road 30km away. The surrounding area is mountainous with undulating ridges. Coffee catchment areas can be found between altitudes 1,700m and 2,000m with a wet mill at 1,850m. The cooperative spans roughly 2,520 ha. Crops cover 1,224 ha, 160 ha are dedicated to grazing land, 40 ha for residences, 2 ha covered by khat, 1,212 ha are for coffee cultivation, and 3 ha are unused. TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative supports the Harewa Gatira cooperative. By receiving business advice and technical support, these farmers have been able to increase production and improve the quality of their coffee. With these advancements, the Harewa Gatira farmers are able to raise their standard of living and fight the conditions of poverty. TechnoServe collaborates with farmers and acts to enhance the Harewa Gatira market chain through their service provider, the Oromia union, and also connects them to international specialty coffee buyers. Harewa Gatira farmers fulfilled TechnoServe selection criteria and were able to construct and operate a wet mill in 2010. These farmers previously produced lower quality coffee and sold it for decreased prices determined by local traders. In 2009, the average prices were 3 birr/kg for red cherry and 6.75 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. There are roughly 300 farmers within 3km of the wet mill. With increasingly strong leadership and membership commitment, the cooperative was able to produce a specialty coffee that received a cupping test result of 87.5 points, a CPQI of 14.5, and a cherry to parchment ratio of 22%. With 1,212 ha of coffee cultivation, the cooperative produced 147,000kg of cherry in 2010. The processing machine was imported from Colombia and has a 15,000kg/hour capacity. The wet mill is located at an altitude of 1,850m. The coffee is grown under the shade of native trees on family owned plots. Farmers use agronomy practices such as pruning, mulching, and intercropping to enhance their crops. These farmers use no agrochemicals in cultivation, making their coffee completely natural and organic. The wet mill receives water from a nearby perennial river. The pulp created during processing is used in composting in a prepared pit or covered by soil if above ground. The waste water is placed in a dug-out 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. Of the Harewa Gatira area, 1,685 farmers are organized in Peasant Associations. Of these farmers, 1,625 are men and 60 are women. There are currently over 290 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.