RB - SUKE QUTO ETHIOPIA
Farm: Suke Quto
Variety: Kurume, Welicho
Altitude: 1800 - 2200 masl
Certifications: Organic, Rainforest Alliance
ABOUT SUKE QUTO FARM
Tesfaye Bekele is the man that put Guji specialty coffee on the map. While Guji was dominated by cattle farmers, he sought new ways to make coffee more popular in Guji. “I don’t consider myself to be a coffee farmer. Because, coffee is everything to me, it is more than a job. All my time and energy are placed into the beans that I harvest and process.” Tesfaye Bekele explains.
“I come from a coffee producing family, so during my childhood, I started to work with coffee early on. At first, coffee did not have my interest.” Tesfaye continuous, “The labor was hard, and the days were long. But after several years, I found myself in coffee. This was after my studies, when I returned to my home in the Shakiso woreda, Guji.
After Tesfaye graduated, he started to work in Natural Resource and Environmental Protection for the government of Ethiopia. “I was designated to Guji and Borena zone (South of Guji). At that time, Guji and Borena were one large administrative zone.” The zone that is now known as Guji, was terrorized by big bushfires that raged for three consecutive years; from 1997 to 1999. The cause of the fires was often unknown and Guji lost a lot of forests.
After a bushfire, out of a desire of forest conservation, Tesfaye started Suke Quto Farm which is currently Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified. It was possible to conserve the forest by distributing coffee and shade tree seedlings amongst the local community. He recruited 150 out-growers, that replanted the forest. With this, Tesfaye accomplished his dream with Suke Quto Farm: developing environmentally friendly coffee, and sustaining the local community with a consistent income. The local smallholders harvest organic coffee and deliver it to Suke Quto Farm for processing.
“I am very proud of this idea, because all the farms you see today in Guji, are inspired by the Suke Quto Farm.” Tesfaye shared.