Producing great coffee is only the start of what we do at Konjo Coffee. What really sets us apart in the industry is our commitment to the wellbeing of our community partners and the conservation of the Harenna Forest. We have meticulously developed a system for coffee production that engages local communities in a way that fosters a positive conservation mindset. Simply put, we are producing great beans with industry leading social and environmental standards.
How does it work? Keep reading.
More for Harvests
Community members and coffee harvesters in the Harenna currently receive very little money for their coffee harvests, which acts to reduce the quality of coffee produced in the Harenna. As both properly harvested and poorly harvested coffee fetch similar market prices, there is little incentive for locals to invest more time into implementing proper harvesting practices.
Our facilities are equipped with processing rooms that effectively assess the quality of individual harvests. If harvests meet our standard of quality, we buy the freshly picked beans for a much higher price than current markets offer. Meaning that our suppliers will have a reliable source of income to support healthy families.
Employment Opportunities for Young Adults
The median age in Ethiopia is only 18 years. With 60% of the population under the age of 25, educational and professional opportunities for this demographic are limited. They are however, the future leaders of their communities and country and we want to provide them with meaningful opportunities for personal and professional growth. At each of our facilities we provide employment opportunities for young adults with generous salaries.
This way, our employees can develop valuable work experience, attend training and professional development opportunities and save income to help them pursue higher education.
Non-timber forest products, besides coffee, like honey, medicines, foods, etcetera, are abundant in the Harenna and they have great potential in promoting a sustainable resilient livelihood system throughout the forest that is resistant to climatic events. The main barrier to the utilization of these products is a lack of local investment potential in developing both these products and their markets.
We have designed a fund which allocates a percentage of our foreign coffee sales for each community. This money will be made available to local entrepreneurs who prepare proposals for projects related to the development of non-timber forest products. Whether it be improving market linkages, promoting new products, utilizing new technologies or developing better production systems, locals will be invited to pitch their ideas to our committee. After completing a project training course, grants will then be provided to individuals to implement their projects, diversify their income sources and invest in their communities.
Although our coffee is 100% wild, there is still a degree of human management caused by locals simply cutting grass and scrub from their coffee forest plots. This is done every few years to ease access into the forest to pick coffee. This cutting is indiscriminate however and with the grasses and scrub, locals also cut the seedlings of large canopy tree species. Even with infrequent cuttings, forest regeneration has been halted. Without natural regeneration, once the current canopy trees disappear so will the amazing biodiversity and crucial ecosystem services of the forest.
To reverse these practices, we have designed an incentives program that will measure and reward forest regeneration both in and around partner communities. To accomplish this, the forest has been divided into separate sampling blocks that will receive a grade based on the rate of observed regeneration. People harvesting coffee from blocks with high levels of regeneration will receive a monetary per kilogram bonus on the coffee they sell to us. We hope that within 8 to 10 years that this will curb the indiscriminate clearing of scrub and promote the natural regeneration of the forest to ensure that it remains thriving for generations to come.
We also want to empower our partner communities and grant them the capability of developing their village in a way they see fit. As such another percentage of foreign profits will be set aside for each partner community. A community committee of various individuals representing different community interests including elders, religious leaders, women and youth will be established to manage these funds to be used for community development projects. This will enable our partner communities to invest in facilities and infrastructure that will improve access to basic necessities, like clean water, health services, educational opportunities and whatever else they deem fit.