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Producer Profiles

SCFCU - Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union

New road for transportation
New power lines
Truck for coffee transportation
The Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) was founded in 2001 to represent coffee producing cooperatives located throughout the Sidama zone of southern Ethiopia. As a result of the region's excellent soil, ideal climate, and high elevation (1,750-2,100m), they have become an origin recognized for their world-class specialty coffee production. Today, SCFCU represents 46 cooperatives and over 80,000 farmers (smallholders), making them the second largest coffee producing cooperative union in Ethiopia. Currently, 39 cooperatives are Fair Trade Certified and 35 are Certified Organic.

SCFCU supports farmers by developing producer/buyer linkages, directly exporting members' coffee to the international market, facilitating access to finance for the harvest, and through capacity building, training, and education programs. They have successfully increased farmers' share of the price received for the coffee, all the while contributing to improvements in quality for Ethiopian coffee as well as the socioeconomic well-being of farming communities.

According to their General Manager, "the benefits of Fair Trade and other certifications cannot be overstated. With price premiums, farming communities are able to feed themselves and invest in new infrastructure such as roads, grain mills, schools, access to electricity, bridges, and other much-needed facilities."
 

Programs

Electricity

Sidama used $116,440 of the premium to provide coffee farmers with access to electric light to replace gas-powered light. One of the goals of this project was to eliminate the smoke from the gas that was formerly used, which causes health problems. With this project, Sidama also aims to reduce the cutting of trees for firewood that can result in deforestation and soil erosion.

Road Construction

Sidama invested $56,384 of the premium to make local travel more accessible for farmers, especially to transport their products to the market. The objective of all Sidama Fair Trade premium investments is to improve the living conditions of coffee producing farmers and their families by prioritizing the greatest needs.

Community

Other Fair Trade premium expenditures include second payment for producer members so that they may receive additional needed income; the construction of a grain mill; and the purchase of an additional washing station. Sidama also invested in many trainings for members, the topics of which include: soil erosion prevention, labor standards, organic farming methods, data collection, record-keeping, and more.