Co-Operative : Duromina
Owners : more than 270 smallholders
Varieties : Ethiopian Heirlooms
Process : Washed
Region : Jimma, Oromia Region
Altitude (masl) : 1900-2100
Harvest Method : Handpicking
In the spring of 2010 a little more than 100 farmers from the remote neighbourhood of Boto joined their forces and started a co-operative called Duromina. In Afan Oromo language this means “improve their lives”, which is exactly what it has done.
Coffee has grown in the region for generations but before the co-operative people paid almost no attention to quality control. Farmers processed their coffees using dry, natural methods and sold their crops in the local markets receiving very low prices. Despite the ideal climate conditions and high altitudes the area was almost a synonym to poor quality coffee.
Duromina co-operative got a jump start with the help of an international nonprofit called TechnoServe. TechnoServe works with development initiatives, mostly with agro-businesses that utilise natural resources and human power. With their help farmers were able to gain funding, education and training needed to build and run a successful wetmill. As a result the farmers were able to process coffee themselves for the first time and pay attention to quality. All their hard work and investment paid itself back already the following year. In 2011 their coffee scored 91.92 points and an international panel of judges voted it the best coffee in all of Africa.
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. With this increase in income they were able to pay back their loans in just one year.
The farmers of Duromina Co-operative place high value on developing their coop as well as helping others. Farmers are very willing to pass on their knowledge and educate other farmers on the methods they have found useful. 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 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.
The farmers cultivate their coffee in small homesteads and on the hillsides under the shade of indigenous Acacia trees. There is no use of agrochemicals for the farming, making the coffee completely natural. The water for the wetmill comes primarily from the nearby uncontaminated river by gravity. Waste water is treated through planted vetiver grass and 2 big lagoons and left over pulp from the processing of the coffee cherries is mixed with soil to be used as a fertiliser.
Duromina Co-op and TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative
Duromina got their funding through Technoserve’s Coffee Initiative much like our other Ethiopian coffee Hunda Oli. TechnoServe conducted Coffee Initiative in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia in the years 2008-2011. It’ objective was to enable smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and increase their incomes. TechnoServe is regarding Duromina as an outstanding success story of rapidly growing business receiving exceptionally high returns from US Market.
Through this program 139 609 farmers received training that helped them better their farming techniques which resulted in better quality of the coffee and thus increased the farmers’ yields by an average of 38%. These increased profits are bettering the lives of the whole community.