Do Ethiopian coffee farmers take some time off after the intensive harvest period? No sir, right after all the red cherry is picked, it is time for pruning. Who else than FairChain stronghold Kilil travelled up to Limu to work with farmers on their tree trimming skills.
Lead by example
Over the course of the harvest, the FairChain team got to know a small group of ambitious, smart farmers. They men and women enjoy the respect of the community thanks to their honesty, their well-managed farms and their volunteering in local institutions.
We have selected a class of 15 so called Lead Farmers. Their role is to lead by example. How to trim a tree? In need for some fertilizer? Ask your local lead farmer. On the first of two days of training, our master trainers taught the 15 the tricks of the trade when it comes to tree management. Also, all 15 were prepped to be a lead farmer to 20 surrounding farmers.
Why trim the tree?
Ask any coffee expert about the most pressing issues amongst small coffee farmers, and they’ll surely mention aged trees. Trees are too high and too old, resulting in ever lower yields. The solution is simple: smartly cut some branches each year, and once in every 5 of 7 years, stump the tree back to some 20cm above the ground to rejuvenate it altogether. The next step of course is to plant new seedlings. This keeps a plantation young and yielding!
From 15 to 350
On the second day of training the 15 brand new lead farmers transferred their tree management know-how to the entire pool of FairChain farmers. The lead farmers might still need to polish their didactic skills and the farmers might still need some follow-up training, but we’ve made a very good start. With FairChain we’ve distributed all necessary tools amongst the 15, explaining the farmers they can go and borrow the bow saw or scissors whenever they intend to do some tree trimming. Every time this happens, the lead farmer will make sure to follow-up on the lessons learned in training. There’s the cascade of knowledge we are building up!