Carl Cervone is the Field Operations Manager for TechnoServe’s Coffee Initiative in Ethiopia. TechnoServe is an NGO that provides intensive training and operational support to help farmer-owned cooperatives improve quality and access premium markets for their coffee. A key priority is ensuring traceability and price transparency back to farmers.
Technoserve is a non governmental organisation. In Ethiopia they support cooperatives to construct washing stations, giving them access to finance, training and quality control as well as help them with marketing support and other. There are a lot of new and exciting areas (besides Limu, Sidamo, Djimma and Yirgacheffe) in Ethiopia that Technoserve is exploring at the moment. But they have challenges with the trading. Technoserve is focussing dealing through cooperatives and cooperative unions. This way they can keep the traceability all the way.
The other way of trading coffee in Ethiopia is that farmer sells his coffee to a trader, who sells it to ECX, who sells it to exporter, who sells it to roaster. ECX is mostly like a wall between farmer and roaster, which makes 80-90 % of the coffees exported non-traceable.
“Farmer is sellling blind – and the exporters are selling blind. A floral Sidamo might pass as a Yirgacheffe and a low altitude Yirgacheffe might pass as a Sidamo”, Carl said.
At Nordic Roaster Forum 2011 Carl talked about his experiences living and working in Ethiopia for the last 4 years to discover new, washed, and traceable coffees. See Carls power point presentation here.