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Bihonegn Buys Himself a WakaWaka

 This is Mr. Bihonegn Adelaw, a 55-year smallholder on an incredibly beautiful farm near the Tega & Telu plantation in the Ethiopian highlands. A proud father of six, Bihonegn is very pleased with this year’s harvest, which is up on last year. His profits are up as well, in part because he sells a portion of his crop to Moyee. The current primary market price for a kilogram offers coffee cherries is is 10 Ethiopian birr (€0,42). But with Moyee’s FairChain Premium, Bihonegn receives 12 birr (€0,51) per kilo.

We visit Bihonegn on a bright sunny day with our translator Gashaw. Bihonegn greets us with his daughter, and his attention is immediately drawn to Gashaw’s WakaWaka solar powered light. Bihonegn is fascinated by the WakaWaka and wants one for himself.

“Right now I go through 3 penlights a week to keep my house lit at night,” he says. He does the calculation and says. “That costs me 350 birr (€14,90) a year.”

Bihonegn wants to buy Gashaw’s WakaWaka on the spot. The two of them enter a long drawn-out negotiation for the device, ending with Bihonegn lifting his hands and saying he trusts us to give him a good price.

Gashaw eventually sells him the WakaWaka for 300 birr (€12,70), which is a low price because, Gashaw adds, it is a test model. We promise Bihonegn and his daughter that we’ll come back later in the season to see how his WakaWaka is working out for him.

It’s little moments like this – improving the quality of life of hardworking smallholders — that make us proud to be in this business.