MANDARIN, BLACK TEA, FLORAL
Co-Operative : Duromina
Owners/Farmers : Over 270 smallholders
Variety : Ethiopian Heirloom
Process : Washed
Region : Jimma, Oromia Region
Altitude (masl) : 1900-2100
Harvest Method : Handpicking
Duromina co-operation sits in a remote neighbourhood of Boto in Jimma region, south-western Ethiopia. Today it has more than 270 smallholders. The farmers cultivate Ethiopian heirloom coffee trees in small homesteads under the shade of indigenous Acacia trees. No agrochemicals are used for the farming, making the coffee completely natural.
The farmers of Duromina Co-operative place high value on developing their co-op, sustainability and helping others. Farmers are very willing to pass on their knowledge and educate other farmers on the methods they have found useful.
Duromina recently bought a new demucilager, the first of its kind in Ethiopia. It uses up to 75% less water thus creating significantly smaller ecological footprint. After depulping the coffee cherries , coffee is soaked overnight and clean parchment is dried in the sun for 7-10 days. Duromina built a second washing station and expanded their cherry collection sites in 2013. In 2016 they added a third washing station with an even lower water impact. They divert the water used at their washing stations through a filtering area before it returns to the rive. Left over pulp from the processing of the coffee cherries is mixed with soil to be used as a fertiliser.
TechnoServe’s CoffeeInitiative and Duromina
Duromina, like many other co-ops in Ethiopia got their start with TechnoServe’s CoffeeInitiative in 2010. TechnoServe is an international nonprofit that promotes business solutions to poverty in the developing world by linking people to information, capital and markets. With the help of a substantial financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation the organisation launched their most ambitious program CoffeeInitiative with a goal to increase the incomes of 182,000 smallholder coffee farmers in East Africa.
TechnoServe’s Coffee initiative changed all of this by creating financial and technological possibilities for communities better the coffee quality and thus increase their income. With the technical support, business advice and finance from TechnoServe the original 113 founding farmers acquired and installed a wet mill and began processing fully washed coffee for the first time. As a result their coffee quality jumped to new levels and an international panel of professional judges picked the co-op’s coffee as “the best in Africa” only two years later.
Followed by the vast growth in the quality and recognition of their coffees, farmers were able to get a 65% premium over the international commodity price. This in return made it possible for the co-op to pay back their initial loan in just one year.
Improving their lives
Duromina means “improve their lives” in Afan Oromo language and this is exactly what this co-op has done. And not only to the original 113 farmers involved but for heir whole community. They have also used the increased income in bettering the lives of their whole community. For example they have built a bridge to keep their remote village connected to neighbouring markets and clinics even during the rainy season and flooding rivers. The village has also renewed their roofs, solar power and primary school all the way through eighth grade. Families are also able to send their children to secondary school in nearby Agaro and even to universities. There’s also plans to connect their village to the electrical grid in the near future.
As a result TechnoServe is regarding Duromina as an outstanding success story of rapidly growing business receiving exceptionally high returns from US Market.