In 2020, we launched our Good Coffee Doing Good program as a way to focus on specialty coffee through the lens of people and community. At Padre Coffee, we cultivate strong connections within our communities and foster meaningful relationships with our suppliers and customers, peers and partners.
Our Good Coffee Doing Good program is a way in which we can support our industry partners in coffee growing origins. Sucafina approached us in 2022 to take part in their program, the Lalisaa Project and we, of course, were thrilled.
Together with Sucafina, and their training program, Lalisaa Project, we are proud to feature an outstanding coffee from producer, Dawit Dagiso, and highlight his coffee and the work that the Lalisaa Project does.
Coffee drying on raised drying beds at Aladdo Washing Station in Guji owned by Birhanu Mulatu- a Lalisaa Project partner.
It is a unique opportunity and a privilege to have a coffee that is traceable to a single producer in Ethiopia. Dawit Dagiso cultivates coffee at Shantawene Farm in Sidama Bensa, Sidamo. He grows a range of local landraces and JARC (Jimma Agricultural Research Centre) varieties, which have all evolved to thrive in Ethiopia’s climatic conditions.
Dawit inherited his farm in the 1990s and has gone on to raise his own family on the farm. Today, his two adult children help with the farm tasks, especially during the height of harvesting season.
Working with Sucafina Ethiopia, Dawit gets technical support and training that helps him make Shatawene Farm more sustainable, and improves the quality of the coffee he produces.
Dawit uses sustainable agroforestry practices to cultivate coffee and his farm is organic-by-default. In addition to coffee, he also grows false banana (enset), fruit trees and legumes. Fruit and timber trees provide shade for growing coffee and legumes fix nitrogen in the soil, a vital nutrient for growing all plants.
Dawit selectively handpicks ripe, red coffee cherries and processes it on Shantawene farm. He lays the cherries on raised beds to sun dry and turns them with a rake frequently to ensure even drying. It takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks for the cherries to dry. Once dry, Dawit bags the cherries and stores the lots in a warehouse on the farm for about 5 months before it’s transported to the dry mill for processing.
Shimelis Bogale facilitates the Lalisaa Project training sessions and gives farm-specific advice.
Sucafina & Sucafina Ethiopia
Sucafina are proud green bean importers with a global team of coffee professionals and offices in many corners of the world. We’ve worked with Sucafina (previously MTC) since 2015 and have valued and admired their commitment to quality, sustainability and transparency.
Based in Addis Ababa, Sucafina Ethiopia works as a service provider connecting local farmers and exporters (colloquially known as ‘shippers’) with international buyers. The Lalisaa Project is part of Sucafina’s FarmerHub initiative, which focuses on the broader needs of the farmers and provides business opportunities outside of coffee production.
Lalisaa coffees are helping make connections and developing relationships between farmers and their potential clients. This will enable direct trade relationships that can benefit both farmers and roasters.
Naturally processed coffee drying on raised drying beds at a washing station in Sidama owned by Bogale Turkey - a Lalisaa Project partner.
The Lalisaa Project
The Lalisaa Project was established by Sucafina Ethiopia in 2018 to support producers in marketing and exporting their coffees outside the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange (ECX) system.
About 98% of the coffee in Ethiopia is produced by smallholders and is the country’s most important agricultural export. While most coffees go through the ECX, reforms recently passed by the government have allowed farms and co-ops to sell their coffees directly to consumers, resulting in increased traceability and fairer pricing.
At Padre Coffee, we’re excited to have the opportunity to source Dawit’s coffee directly. What makes this coffee so interesting is that it is the first coffee grown by a single producer lot from Ethiopia which will be featured on our menu.
In Amharic, the word ‘Lalisaa’ means to grow or flourish. By participating in the Lalisaa program, smallholder coffee farmers and quality-focused coffee washing stations in key growing areas across the country can access support and resources that will help them thrive.
The goal of the Lalisaa Project is to improve the quantity and quality of coffee produced by partnered producers by improving farming and processing practices. This, in turn, will contribute to increased prices and improved social and environmental standards to the producing communities. Ultimately, the project is designed to cultivate a strong, well-informed and independent supply chain that doesn’t rely on financial aid or intervention from exporters and importers.
As of 2022, there are 97 farmers enrolled in the Lalisaa Project curriculum across three micro-regions; Yirgacheffe, Kochere and Gedeb, which are all located within the Gedeo Political Zone. New farmers are onboard each year for a training program intended to help farmers improve yields and quality, while also accessing new markets and financial services.
Lalisaa Project partner, Meseret Tegeno.
Over a three-year period, smallholder farmers who have joined the Lalisaa Project progress through three stages of the program: pre-selection, acceleration and graduation. At each stage, they are assessed for participation and engagement and only advance if they meet certain criteria.
As they advance, farmers are assisted in creating farm-specific management plans, accessing short-term and long-term financing and attending industry events to connect to international markets and gain industry exposure. Via workshops and farm visits, they also have access to an expert agronomist, who advises on farming and processing practices, including the propagation of seedlings, how and when to use inputs, how to prune, selective harvesting of ripe cherries, and multi-cropping the land.
Meseret Tegeno’s coffee drying on her farm in Werke Sakaro, Gedeb.
How are we contributing?
Sucafina Ethiopia has developed a model for the Lalisaa project coffees that immediately results in more money in the pocket of the coffee growers. They do this by educating the farmers on producing the coffee themselves (thus not having to take the coffee cherries to drying stations or wet mills, which then take a cut), plus an additional premium on top of the usual Grade 1 premium directly to the producer.
Sucafina purchases these coffees once they have a firm commitment from coffee roasters like us. This means that when you purchase their coffee, you are directly contributing to their ability to buy which increases the buying potential of coffee farmers. This system dramatically improves the financial sustainability and quality of life for the growers.
Through this program, Dawit has earned an additional $1.87AUD per kilogram which will go towards improving his farming practices and long term income. This is approximately 20% more than he would have earned through the usual commodities exchange model.
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