Moyeesta fans know Kilil already. He’s our man in the coffee fields. We’ve written about him before on this blog. Many times in fact. Well, last week Kilil gave his wife and kids a long kiss goodbye, rented himself a durable 4×4 and headed up to Kaffa for some serious work.
What, precisely, was Kilil up to? Well, let us count the ways in good ole’ corporate bullet point fashion.
- To scout a new coffee plantation and gauge whether it would be a good addition to our outgrower network.
- To meet with local authorities about expanding our outgrower network generally and work with them to identify other potential smallholders in the region.
- Explore new coffees.
- Pinpoint a location for a new washing station.
That’s a whole lot of work for a three-day trip. But then again, we don’t call Kilil Can-Do Kilil for nothing. No sooner was he back home with his family that he presented HQ with a detailed report. We’ll spare you the hyper-details, but here are a few key takeaways.
First and most important, the Zelealem plantation possesses the ideal conditions for coffee production. It is situated at an ideal coffee-growing altitude with a good balance between rainfall, temperature, shade and soil. It is surrounded by fresh river water and is located near to year-round accessible road (which is definitely not always the case). It also has access to electricity and mobile networks.
The plantation also borders on two very interesting coffee-growing kegeles, or small districts, in Bego and Shida. These kebeles have a high density of smallholders. Bego boasts 298 smallholders sharing 229ha of coffee farms. Shiuda 215 smallholders growing on 234ha of land. Quite honestly, these are very tiny coffee farms, below the average size of most of our partners. That said, Kilil sees a lot of potential here. With our help, these farmers could quickly increase their current yields of 1,500kg of red cherries per hectare. How? Organic composts, slightly less shade, better field management, that’s how.
Now the serious work has to be done. That’s right, the finance dudes! Can we make all this profitable for us and the farmers. We’ll keep you posted!