Level Ground purchases coffee from the Fero Co-op of the Sidama Coffee Farmers’ Union. The co-op has approximately 3000 member farmers representing a total population of around 27,000 people—yes, 8-9 people per household on average! The co-op has 3 washing stations several km apart, and 11 buying posts for purchase of cherries. All of the cherries are processed at the three co-op washing stations. Processed coffee is sent via truck to Addis for milling and grading, and then is sent to the port of Djibouti, which is a 600 km drive from Addis.
Fero Co-op, Sidama Coffee Farmers Co-op
This coffee is grown in the Sidamo region near Yrgalem. Fero Co-op is approximately 400 km south of the capital of Addis Ababa.
Type of Organization
Fair Trade Certified by FLO (ID 2519) and Organic certified by BCS ÖKO-GARANTIE GMBH
Farmers’ plots are small, often covering less than two acres. Coffee trees are often very old—more than 20 years—and in need of severe pruning. Some coffee trees are 4+ meters tall. It’s common for trees to often produce only 2–3 kg of cherries, where others produce 3-6 kg of red cherries per tree. Coffee is the main source (90%) of income for farmers. Other products they grow include vegetables, fruit and cereal grains. These products are grown interspersed in the coffee plot.
Within walking distance of the village of Yirgalem; the nearest major center is Awasa which is located 45 km to the north.
Late October through December
Some shade grown practices with 30% intercropping
Direct Fair Trade Premiums
The co-op invests Direct Fair Trade Premiums in extra payment to farmers and capacity building.