Many suppliers/processors and coffee traders only engage with farmers during harvest time to collect cherries, pay market prices for the coffees and move along in the supply chain. This means that for many small farmers improved coffee plant varieties remain out of reach, adoption of better processing techniques is slow, and the potential for disease and weather shocks remains.
However, there is a growing body of specialty coffee exporters and suppliers/processors that work directly with farmers, help with upgrading growing and processing and invest in the community. Ya Coffee Roasters (website being updated) and Moplaco Trading PLC, our primary suppliers of roasted coffee beans, are two such companies.
Ya Coffee Roasters
The company was established in 2012 by Sara Yirga with the commitment to a sustainable business model that addresses economic, social and environmental concerns. It prioritizes smallholder farmers, the business (i.e. employees and partners), and consumers to deliver on its commitment for sustainable development. The company sources its coffee beans directly from smallholder farmers to deliver fairly-traded specialty and premium coffee to consumers worldwide.
Moplaco Trading PLC
In Heleanna Georgalis’ own words….
We have been in Ethiopia since 1906. My grandfather was a supplier of coffee from Harar and my father started the export business in 1971. We are now vertically integrated down to the farm and to our own sites and have expanded horizontally into roasting coffee and retail.
Our farm is now properly managed as when we received it was truly abandoned. We will put in a washing station this year (2021) so we can also produce fully washed coffee. We have worked with a group of farmers around us, and with a client provided them with materials to build beds and produce better quality coffee. We grew our property and our own production of honey.
In our schools in Sidamo, we continue fixing the floors of the remaining four classrooms, and we painted the building for them.
For Sheka, we fixed the roof of the school, and we also built 90 desks for the students. The school is a shambles and looks like a stable and not a school. It is a work in progress.