Feed the Soil, Feed your Family

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The plantation is our classroom

In the midst of the turmoil of the Ethiopian MP stepping down and an official state of emergency our loyal FairChain trainees gathered in Jimma. On the agenda: nutrients, shade and light… what’s that? The 2nd most important topic for improving farmers’ coffee harvest!

Coffee plants full of cherry blossom

Our main FairChain guy in the field, Kilil, gathered two of the best coffee experts in Kaffa and Limu region. With them, Kilil had prepared an intensive 4-day Training of Trainer session. Objective: to prep 25 talented trainees for the training of 350 farmer families in April.

Professor Gezahegn Berecha (teaching the class on the top picture) is head of the Coffee Research Institute at Jimma University, but that does not mean he remains in the office. He took the 25 FairChain trainees into the field and shared with them valuable insights on the effect of shade and sunlight on the quality and quantity of coffee harvest. Did you know that Arabica coffee grows best under the shade of indigenous shadow trees? Perhaps you’d heard that before. But did you also know that most of our farmers in Limu actually have a surplus of shade, preventing their trees from bearing more fruit? And ever thought about the level of nitrogen decreases when shade is reduced?

Meet professsor Amsalu Nebiyu. He’s the guy if you want to know more about coffee and soil fertility management. In our farmer training program, soil fertility is the 2nd most urgent topic, after plant rejuvenation. We aim for a living income, through coffee yield increase. Amsalu points out there will be no yield increase without carefully feeding the soil. Based on detailed soil assessments that we carried out last harvest, we know there is a possible shortage of potassium and phosphorus. So Amsalu instructed the trainees to teach the farmers to apply ‘Biochar’, a very effective organic fertilizer.

Feed the soil, feed your family!