Yachi Kachise cooperative was established in April of 2006 with an initial 100 farmer members. Members of the cooperative are all coffee growers, as their lives depend on the cultivation and selling of the crop. Coffee generates the majority of the farmers’ income. They also often times cultivate other crops like corn in order to supplement their income and dietary needs. It is common to raise animals such as goat and cows as well. There are currently over 110 members of the cooperative with increasing membership. The cooperative site is about 65 km from Jimma and 415 km from Addis Ababa. The coffee-processing site is only 500m from the main road. Coffee cultivation areas can be found between 1,600 and 1,800 m altitude. The area surrounding the cooperative is hilly and covered by natural forest. Coffee plantation covers over 1,090 ha of the total area. The rest of the farming area is used for cereal crops such as maize and teff. Within the area around the cooperative, about 18,000ha are dedicated to coffee. The cooperative began receiving support from TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative in 2009. The farmers receive technical support and business advice so they can increase their production and improve their coffee quality. These advancements have helped these farmers earn increased incomes and fight off poverty through sustainable business. TechnoServe directly works with farmers to better their market chain through their service provider, the Oromia Union, and connect them with international buyers. In 2010, the farmers fulfilled TechnoServe selection criteria and were able to begin construction of a wet mill in January of 2010 and begin operation that October Before the Jawi cooperative acquired a wet mill farmers would sell their coffee as dry cherry in local markets. They would receive low prices determined by private traders and in turn could not better their livelihoods from coffee production. Wet mill operation began in 2010 and created an opportunity for farmers to receive higher prices for their coffee. There are many farmers in the areas surrounding the site, bringing high potential for production volume. The coffee earned a cupping score of 87, a CPQI of 13.5, and a 4.46 cherry to parchment ratio. With a wet mill located at 1,708m altitude, the cooperative processed 110,263 kg of red cherry and 282 bags of green coffee. Farmers maintain their trees because of the natural shade provided by indigenous forests. Yachi Kachise farmers do not use any agrochemicals on their coffee, making it natural and organic. The wet mill receives its water from an uncontaminated perennial river. Pulp byproduct is used in composting and wastewater is filtered by strips of vetiver grass and then evaporated in a lagoon area. Permanent workers include accountants, storekeepers, and guards. During processing season, the cooperative hires daily laborers that work on drying tables along with nighttime workers.
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.