What: Training 50.000 smallholder farmers in coffee production
Where: Sidama Region, Ethiopia
When: 2019-2023

Good seeds for a good life.
Since the beginning of 2019, we have been engaging in conversations with coffee farming communities in the Sidama Region. In close cooperation with our local implementing partner we have begun to improve their capacity as growers through dedicated trainings. The trainings are spread through a total of six local districts thus far, all located in the picturesque highland of southern Ethiopia. The lesson plans cover the most important agricultural practices of coffee production, in order to sustainably increase both yield and harvest quality.

Our partner and implementeur in this venture is the international NGO TechnoServe, recently awarded for their impact in reducing poverty. With 50 years of experience and a clear focus on business solutions to poverty, TechnoServe supports people in developing countries to improve the value of what they produce. Instead of relying on handouts, the farmers are empowered to increase their income and better their livelihoods. Our partnership is based on the mutual belief that only when people have the skills and resources to improve their own incomes, are the resulting benefits sustainable.

Always room to improve.
To maximise value for the farmers, we are constantly optimizing and adapting our training program. In doing so, we are striving to find innovative answers to old questions such as: “How can we make sure that farmers are able to actually adopt the practices we teach?”

We prioritize efficacy of the intervention and continuous learning. Therefore, we have partnered with the independent data, research and technical advisory firm Laterite and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) for an independent evaluation of the project outcomes. The evaluation will be finalized in 2023.

COVID-19 – a global and local issue.
From the early months of 2020, the spread of COVID-19 has produced additional challenges for our farmers as well as our program implementation on the ground. To begin with, we are having to adapt our training program to the new reality, making sure to adhere to social distancing standards and diligently working with the local government to adhere to all hygiene requirements while still delivering services to farmers. In addition, we have extended our commitment to serving the coffee farming communities and are supporting both local and national phone surveys, collecting additional data and creating awareness around the impacts of COVID-19 on the ground. This is aimed at finding pathways for us to adjust our implementation and provide additional services, as well as to provide specialised (non-)governmental bodies in Ethiopia with relevant data to set priorities for COVID-19 relief efforts more accurately.

Knowledge that remains.
One training groups concluded their scheduled training at the beginning of 2021, the second in 2022. Our objective is to enable these farmers to reap sustainable benefits from our program. With this goal in mind, we decided to support these groups even after the main program.

Coffee cherries drying in the sun.

Worker watering coffee seedlings at a local coffee nursery.

The towns in the project area are often small and, especially on market days, filled with people as here in Aleta Chuko.

One of the local trainers playfully teaching one of his focal farmer groups how to keep records of coffee sales and calculate costs and profit.

A farmer with two of our farmer trainers, showing us the results of his stumping efforts.

Normally trainings are held outdoors on the demonstration plot. In this instance, the rainy season made sure that the farmers were huddled together closely in one of the group members houses.

A nursery worker taking a break watching guests being shown around the nursery grounds. She is partly responsible for raising over 100.000 coffee seedlings which are distributed locally every year.

A farmers discussing the new record sheet during training.

Old and new – Traditionally, the Sidama people live in round huts with a thatched roof. Over the last years, the traditional design is often replaced with a more contemporary take on