Meet Shamshedin A/Goja A/Diga. A dedicated coffee farmer from the village of Suntu. With his wife he has 5 children and 2 hectares of coffee. On October 1st of this year he was elected by his peers to be a member on the board of representatives. This means that, together with 6 other board members, he has a responsibility to look after the farmers’ interests in the FairChain training and harvest program.
The board members play a crucial role during harvest. Every day, one board member is scheduled to partake in quality control at cherry collection. Not an easy task, because it means Shamshedin and his colleagues need to speak up if a farmer does not meet the quality standards or doesn’t play by the rules. And, of course, the board members lead by example. …right?
Because of the ‘goldrush’ we mentioned in our last blog, we are facing a problem. The drying beds are fully loaded, until the point it might affect the quality of your precious beans. The cause: we have created new middlemen… farmers are collecting coffee from their neighbors. This is sabotaging the FairChain project, because the deal is that only farmers that participate in training can deliver their harvest and sell for a FairChain price.
So, the FairChain team has to limit the daily collection amount. The new rule created together with the board of representatives: 1 bag (100kg) per farmer per day. Some farmers were very content with this new rule, as they saw other farmers getting involved in a private collection and hence earning unjustified premiums.
Back to Shamshedin. At the point of collection, we saw some farmers still bringing much more than 100kg. To our surprise, our man Shamshedin delivered an impressive amount of 400kg, exceeding the daily limit with 300 kilograms! Mark, feeling quite angry by this ‘treason’, confronted Shamshedin with his cheating and explained that the representatives should lead by example to make this project a joint success.
Despite the language barrier, Shamshedin and Mark gave each other a big Ethiopian hug and went apart in good harmony 😉.