This exceptional natural coffee was grown by smallholder farmers living around the neighbourhood association of Konga Wote in Yirgacheffee, SNNPR Region. The washing station (Konga Wote) is partly owned by Mr Beyene Eshete and our partner in the region, Primrose S.P. PLC. Primroses are responsible for dry milling and exporting the final product.
Most contributing farmers own less than a hectare of land, and they grow coffee simply as a backyard cash crop. Coffee will usually be interspersed with other subsistence crops, such as;sweet potato, mangos and avocados, but there are no other primary cash crops grown in the region.
Our partner, Primrose S.P. PLC, is a stakeholder in the supplier washing station and works directly with them to control for quality and cultural practices on the farm. Income from coffee is important but minimal for most farmers due to the small size of their farms. As such, inputs are minimal –most coffee grown in the region is 100% organic, though not certified, as farmers simply don’t have the money to apply chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides. Primrose ensures that there are agricultural officers who work closely with each farmer to ensure the fertility of the farmland.
Farmers in the region are susceptible to a number of challenges, namely; an ageing generation of coffee trees, negative effects of climate change and fluctuations in the coffee market price. Climate change, in particular, is having difficult repercussions, as fluctuating season’s effects harvesting, as well as unexpected rains, increasing the length of the drying process. Fortunately, local initiatives are attempting to combat these problems. Working with agricultural development agents, farmers in the region are finding new support to help combat climate change as well as plant new coffee trees, helping to improve the sustainable production of coffee in the area.
Regarding market price fluctuations, stakeholder organisations are working to pay fair prices to farmers for their coffee production. Primrose pays more than the market price for a kilogram of red cherry, and those farmers that bring quality red cherry are paid a cash incentive, ensuring higher-than-average overall quality.
Coffee is selectively hand-picked before being delivered to the mill collection points, usually within 5 km of the producer’s homes. Here, lots are separated by quality, producer and date of production. At least once a day, thcollected coffee cherry is delivered to the mill, where itis floated and then placed on raised beds to be sorted by hand, usually by women, and dried. Great care is taken upon delivery to separate out any overripe, under-ripe or damaged bean. Once sorted, the cherry will remain on the beds for around 15 to 20 days; until the cherry has reached the ideal moisture content. Next, the dried cherry will be transported to Primrose's dry mill and warehouse in Addis Ababa city. Here coffee is dry milled to remove foreign material, remaining parchment, and defected beans;ready for export.