Training and Certification Programs for Better Farm Management in Ethiopia
[iconbox title=”Contact Name: Alex Morgan” icon=”adress_book.png”]
Location: Various Coffee Growing Countries
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number: 212- 677-1900[/iconbox]
Production of high quality coffees in Ethiopia is expanding as a result of optimal climate, elevation, and soil quality. The Rainforest Alliance is working with farmers in Ethiopia to grow the demand for these coffees on the international market and ensure that the industry develops in a sustainable manner, taking into account the importance of fragile ecosystems, high conservation value forests, and local communities.
Since 2005, the Rainforest Alliance has been working in collaboration with farmers in the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) and since 2007 with farmers in the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) and Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU) in order to attain more effective social and environmental management systems. Through implementation of the rigorous standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), several cooperatives within SCFCU, YCFCU, and OCFCU have made required changes to improve working conditions for their workers, manage waste and water more efficiently, and conserve natural resources.
Environmental committees have been appointed at each cooperative to ensure the achievement of specific program objectives, such as proper management of solid and liquid waste from coffee processing. Coffee pulp from the wet mills is now managed through a compost program, which creates a valuable organic fertilizer that can be recycled back into the farm. In addition, waste from the wet mill processing travels by gravity to ponds where it either evaporates or is treated naturally using an Effective Microorganism (EM) system. Each of the programs being implemented through the SAN standard at SCFCU, YCFCU and OCFCU have proven to be successful methods in fostering better social and environmental stewardship at the farm level.
Wotona Bultuma Coop, part of Sidama Coffee Union (SCFCU): Group farmer training session with Rainforest Alliance staff/auditor.
Wotona Bultuma Coop, part of Sidama Coffee Union (SCFCU): Lagoon with Effective Microorganism treated water and with the coffee washing stations in the background.
Sidama Coffee Union: pile of coffee pulp compost to be taken back to coffee plants and used as fertilizer through an integrated waste management system required by certification.
Who Benefits From This Project?
As a result of the Rainforest Alliance’s training and technical assistance programs, farmers in isolated areas of Ethiopia are seeing economic, social, and environmental benefits. First, the farmers are gaining better access to international markets through certification, which gives them a clear way to communicate their continual improvements in farm management practices to the consumer at the other end of the value chain. In addition, Rainforest Alliance Certified™ coffees from SCFCU and YCFCU were internationally recognized as top scorers at the 2012 Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality in New York City. Next, temporary mill workers are now receiving higher wages and union member farmers are receiving bonus payments based on the quantity of red cherry they deliver to market. Finally, the farmers now have an incentive to conserve their forests, because intercropping the coffee plants with trees makes for higher quality shade-grown coffee, prevents soil erosion, conserves biodiversity, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions – twenty percent of which result from global deforestation.
How Can I Help?
• Coffee companies can contact the Rainforest Alliance and/or SCFCU, YCFCU and OCFCU directly to ask for supply of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees.
• Coffee companies have the opportunity to support the Rainforest Alliance training program to build further certification capacity in Ethiopia and contribute to improved farmer livelihoods, conservation and reforestation efforts.
• Retailers can encourage their suppliers to purchase beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified sustainable coffee producers that show a commitment to effective social and environmental management systems like those of SCFCU, YCFCU and OCFCU.
• Consumers can choose to buy sustainable coffee with the Rainforest Alliance Certified frog seal, rewarding groups of small producers like SCFCU, YCFCU and OCFCU for their hard work in adopting environmentally and socially responsible practices.