Price $4.92 per pound
Bag Weight 132.36 lbs
Flavor Profile Peach, guava, cinnamon, hibiscus, dark chocolate, clean
2855 smallholder farmers organized around the Boa Bedegelo Primary Cooperative
1700 - 2000 masl
Local indigenous landraces and heirloom cultivars
Dale district, Sidama Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, Ethiopia
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
October – December
Fair trade | Organic
Boa Bedegelo is one of the primary cooperatives belonging to the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU), one of Ethiopia’s largest and best-known exporting organizations. SCFCU is robust; there are 53 member cooperatives in the union and over 80,000 member households throughout the Sidama Zone. Harvest in Sidama occurs slightly earlier than in the more southern zones of Gedeo and Guji, and as a result the coffees from here are usually the year’s very first top quality arrivals from anywhere in Ethiopia.
Boa Bedegelo carries out activities that often go unnoticed but are crucial for small producers, including training producers in best organic practices and investing in basic infrastructure needs like road improvements and local warehouses. SCFCU focuses on establishing a certification process for local cooperatives, creating micro-credit for producers and investing in social programs on a larger scale. Environmental training programs, healthcare initiatives, life insurance, and educational opportunities are just some of the ways SCFCU strives to improve the quality of life for coffee producers and their families.
There are 2855 active (contributing) farmer members belonging to the Boa Bedegelo cooperative, one of the union’s larger in both membership and output, along with the mighty Fero cooperative. Together these larger coops are some of the few sources of natural process coffees from Sidama. Farmers in this area are truly smallholders, averaging less than one hectare of coffee cultivation each, in which they also produce vegetables for the household and local sale. The coop processes coffee at 3 different sites, in the Dale district communities of Manche, Hayilo, and Shafina.
Cherry is delivered daily to SCFCU’s coop washing stations where it is sorted, depulped, and fermented overnight in water, which is traditionally replenished multiple times during the fermentation period to ensure clean, white, and contaminant-free parchment. Boa Bedegelo employs over 100 people at the station to oversee the constant maintenance of large-scale parchment and, in the case of naturals, cherry drying. Once fully dried and cured, final milling for export is completed at the Union mill in Addis Ababa.
Boa Bedegelo was founded in 1975 and functioned independently, as did many coops and processing groups back then, for lack of a greater export network. This lasted until the late 90s and relied largely on a system of local collectors and buyers, who would then deliver consolidated cherry to processors or export auctions. The formation of cooperative unions in Ethiopia allowed for voting power and higher farm returns from the direct exportation that unions would be capable of. Certifications, as well, easily earned through the traditionally organic methods of Ethiopia’s smallholders and a conscious business plan, could be secured for price protection and marketing purposes, helping vast populations of smallholders gain small but meaningful leverage in the global marketplace that remains to this day.