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This is Zewdie

We’re scoring quality Arabica from little-known smallholders in Ethiopia. Like Zewdie. He’d like to say ‘hello’.

Name: Zewdie Haile
Location:   Tega
Size of property: 2 hectares
Community role:  Officer of Justice & Security

Mr. Zewdie Haile is one of 99 smallholder coffee farmers Moyee cooperates with in Ethiopia. Like many smallholders, Zewdie lives in a small house which he happily opens to anyone looking for a cup of self-harvested, roasted and ground coffee. Coffee is his career and his life – he has approximately 2 hectares of land to grow coffee on. That equals about 6,000 coffee shrubs, good for about 2,000 kg cherries each harvest. He uses absolutely no chemicals or pesticides, and the undeniable quality of his coffee drew us to his home, which he shares with his wife and 7 children, all of whom are in school.

Smallholders can’t go alone, and rely on larger plantations in the area to wash and dry their coffee. Zewdie sells his coffee to the nearby Tega & Tula farm. That’s how we first came into contact with him, because we work closely with Tega & Tula.

While quite typically as a high-quality smallholder, Zewdie is anything but average. He plays an active role in his community as an ‘officer of justice and security’. Everybody knows Zewdie, and his home is often filled with local villagers seeking advice. They also know him because he is one of the region’s passionate activists in uniting the strengths of smallholders in Ethiopia. You see, Zewdie knows his coffee is exceptional, and he also knows that smallholders working alone are powerless against the powerful Western buyers interested in great — and mostly cheap — coffee. We couldn’t agree more.

 

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Moyee Dives Deeper into Direct Trade with ‘Call the Farmer’ Project

For the last three years Moyee has been exploring the back roads of Ethiopia’s coffee highlands to score quality Arabica from little-known smallholders. During this time we’ve vetted roughly 99 smallholder coffee farmers who harvest extraordinary beans honestly and naturally. Under the name ‘Call the Farmer’, we’re diving ever deeper into direct trade coffee. We invite you our journey through the stories of the farmers we’re working with. 

Direct trade is an umbrella term that usually means purchasing beans from large coffee cooperatives. Not a bad thing, but less direct that you’d think. We are no stranger to coffee co-ops; we’ve bought from them too. But with Call the Farmer we are stepping up our game. Call the Farmer moves beyond co-ops and focuses on some of the smallest and most remote farmers in Ethiopia.

60,000 kg

Call the Farmer is the result of these many hardcore off-road adventures to find new farmers with unique beans. With Project 99, we are buying 60,000 kilograms of cherry from these 99 outgrowers. It is direct trade in its purest form, without middlemen, not even a coop.

For us we get amazing coffee – in some cases, we’ll be introducing beans to Europe for the first time. In return, by introducing them into our FairChain network, these 99 farmers will earn more money than they would from any other company. Equally important, we will bring them external expertise to help them increase their yields without having to alter their centuries-old farming techniques. In other words, we are going to help them earn even more money.

Telling their stories

In the coming year we will publish the story of as many of our 99 farmers as possible. Sometimes we’ll visit them face to face; at other times we’ll speak to them on the phone, either directly or through a translator. We simply want to put a story to the name of the men and women we work with and who harvest for you freaking awesome coffee. Besides, the basis of our relationship may be coffee craftsmanship, but we’d be lying if we said their stories didn’t add to the radically good taste of our coffee.

The first 10,000 kilogram batch of Call the Farmer coffee will be roasted in our Addis Ababa this December. Pre-order your batch now. More details to follow.