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Meet our smallholder: Zewde

The very short stories of the smallholder farmers growing your premium FairChain beans. Meet Zewde (not to be confused with Zewdie, of course).

Name: Zewde Shimbi
Location:  Tega
Size of property: 3 hectares
Remarks: is neighbors with his son Zerihun

Zewde is a sympathetic old fellow. He’s older than 60 (though how much older he won’t tell), has a wife and — drum roll please — 13 children (!). He also grows coffee on 3 hectares of land. It used to be more, but he sold 1,5 hectares to his son Zerihun for what he tells us was a ‘very friendly family price’.

Amanuel interviewed Zewde during the 2016 harvest.

Zewde is definitely not the youngest farmer in the neighborhood, but he is one of the most enthusiastic participants of our Call the Farmer program. When Moyee organizes a training, Zewde is there. Zewde isn’t only interested in knowledge; he also is eager to obtain materials he needs for his farm, like poles and wire. Simple items with which he can build drying beds for his coffee cherries.

Like other farmers in the region, weeding takes up a lot of his time and energy. Considering his age, it’s not surprising that Zewde’s first investment will be a day laborer that can do the weeding for him. But labor is hard to find these days, especially because the Tega & Tula farm down the road pays laborers 2 birr /kg of picked cherries, while Zewde is only able to pay 1 birr/kg.

This is a problem we hope we can help him figure out.