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Historically coffee in Ethiopia has been sold through either a commodity exchange or through government owned cooperatives with thousands of members with minimal traceability. Only in the last few years, smallholder farmers have been encouraged to participate in direct trade relationships by exporting their micro-lots under private export licenses. Unfortunately, the costs incurred in production make exporting micro-lots unrealistic for many small lot farmers.
This is something Getu Bekele (plant geneticist and co-author of ‘A Reference Guide to Ethiopian Coffee Varieties’) aspired to change with the formation of Jabanto Group; an entity that assists small lot farmers with a highly organised approach to quality control, marketing, warehousing, milling, logistics and export documentation processes.
Since it’s establishment in 2018, Jabanto’s collective of farmers has almost doubled. Farmers working with the group receive up to 88% of the FOB* price of their coffee back, in contrast to 40%-45% when working with other cooperatives in Ethiopia.