Established by organic forest coffee farmers, the Diri cooperative resides near the birthplace of coffee Arabica. Farmers of the area grow coffee on family owned plots and in the surrounding forest. Diri farmers also grow various food crops such as maize, teff, beans, barley, and vegetables for domestic consumption. Farmers also rear animals such as cows, sheep, goats, and chicken. The Diri cooperative is located in southwest Ethiopia’s SNNPR state, Kaffa Zone, Gimbo Woreda. The cooperative neighbors the birthplace of coffee Arabica. It is 445km from Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa, 86 km from a TechnoServe operational office in Jimma, and 30 km from zonal capital Bonga. The site can also be accessed year round. The scenery of the Diri cooperative is moderately leveled and blanketed by natural forest. The coffee catchment areas ideal for coffee production can be found at altitudes ranging from 1500 to 1900 meters. The cooperative spans a total of 12,785 hectare. Of this, 5,641 ha is covered by forest, 1,085 ha is for perennial crops, 5,072 ha is for annual crops, 919 ha is grazing land, and 248 ha is used for other purposes. TechnoServe Ethiopia’s Coffee Initiative supports the Diri cooperative by providing business advice and resources to improve quality and increase production of coffee. With this enhanced production, Diri farmers are able to raise their standard of living and further enrich their livelihoods.TechnoServe directly collaborates with farmers to enhance the Diri market chain through the service provider, Kaffa forest coffee farmers Union, and connect them to international specialty coffee buyers. The Diri cooperative was able to fulfill TechnoServe selection criteria and receive a loan to construct and begin operation of a wet mill in 2009. Prior to the introduction of wet mill processing, local farmers sold their coffee as dry cherry at local markets. Market traders would determine the prices of the coffee. In 2008 and 2009, prices only reached 3 birr/kg for red cherry and 8 birr/kg for dry cherry. Because of the low quality and prices of the coffee, Diri farmers were unable to benefit from their coffee business Wet mill operation began in 2009 between 1,700- 2,000m. With increasingly strong leadership and commitment of members, the cooperative is able to efficiently produce high quality specialty coffee, increasing focus on each step of production. Diri coffee has been increasing in quality and price, receiving a cupping test result of 86%, a CPQI of 14, and cherry to parchment ratio of 20.4%. The coffee has been selling at $3.05 per pound. Total coffee plantation covers 1,032 hectares and the average Diri household is 0.8 hectare. In 2009 and 2010, red cherry production reached 516,000 kg and 412,800 kg respectively. Diri coffee is cultivated within the forest and on family owned plots. Farmers utilize the natural shade of the homestead and forest for their growing. The coffee is well managed and completely organic and uncontaminated as no agrochemicals are used. The wet mill receives clean water from a diverted river. Processing produces no contamination or pollution, since the pulp is decomposed and reused as a natural fertilizer. The site is fully covered by vetiver grass that filters wastewater. The mill has hired a staff of wet mill operators, an industry manager, an accountant, a storekeeper, guards, and daily laborers. Employees have open access to cooperative leaders and management to discuss their work. The site also provides a clean water supply and pit latrines. 13,537 Diri farmers are members of Peasant Associations. Of these members, 6,411 are male and 7,126 are female. There are over 280 members of the Diri cooperative.
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.