The creation of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) in 2008 significantly limited full traceability back to specific farmers. In response, Royal established the Single Farmer Lots Program
to separate single farmer lots from the larger cooperative blends sold through the ECX. The foundation for directly purchasing single farmer lots was developed jointly between the Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU) and Royal Coffee in 2012.
Annual farm visits from Royal CEO Max Nicholas-Fulmer and regular communication with farmers through Haile Andualem
, Royal’s representative on the ground in Ethiopia, has been an essential component for ensuring that farmers and washing stations are following strict farm management and post-harvest protocols. The results have been an ever-increasing number of 89+ lots with higher returns for the individual producers. Bekele Heto
cultivated this single farmer lot on his 38-acre farm near the town of Worka-Sakaro located in the heart of the coveted Gedeb growing region. Bekele has been cultivating coffee for 13 years but with the help of the single lot program he has been able to sell his coffee as a micro-lot in recent years. Coffee is Bekele’s main source of income that he uses to support his family of 14. Ripe cherries for this natural processed coffee were carefully hand sorted and floated to remove less dense coffee beans. Next the cherries were dried on raised beds for 15 to 20 days and turned regularly to avoid over-fermentation and mold. Raised beds are carefully constructed to ensure proper air circulation and temperature control, for optimal drying. Cherries were covered during the afternoons to prevent harsh drying in the intense sun. Once the cherries finished drying to 11 percent moisture, they were transported to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to be milled and prepared for export through the