By Rahel Mulat, Ally Coffee’s Green Coffee Buyer in Ethiopia
Rahel had the opportunity to visit exporting partners Boledu and METAD recently and shares her experience in this field report. The text has been edited for clarity and length.
Boledu - Guji Uraga, Konga, and Gedeb Halo Beriti
I went to visit one of the best coffee growing regions in the south Gedio and Oromia region, Guji Zone, to visit the Boledu Industrial PLC washing station and facilities. Boledu began exporting coffee two years ago. He processes specialty coffee and used to sell his coffee to other exporters through the ECX. The new coffee sector intervention policy in 2018 created the opportunity for Boledu to begin directly exporting coffee.
My first day of travel was to see the vertical integration partner of Boledu, the washing station at Guji Uraga Solomo Yabito Tomi kebele, 435 km away from Addis Ababa. Uraga has a favorable agroecology and high altitudes, resulting in a longer maturation period for the cherries and dense coffee beans. The land is very unspoiled and the coffee trees are very young. You can find real semi-forest cultivation here with shade trees for coffee.
The road to Uraga was challenging but the landscape and vegetation cover was very interesting, and I had a chance to see farmers bringing their coffee to the site.
Of the four washing stations owned by Boledu, I visited two stations in the Gedio Zone, Konga and Halo Beriti.
The washing station here was established in 2002 on the main road of the kebele. There is currently an office, guesthouse, and laboratory under construction at the site, which are all very important facilities. A total of 1200 nearby farmers deliver their red cherries to the washing station. During my field visit, processing was already finished at the Konga washing station, and in fact harvest is finished across almost all of the country (at the time of writing). The site has the potential to process 25,000 kg of red cherries daily, and 1.3 million kg of cherries annually. The site uses an Agard machine for Washed coffee processing.
METAD - Gedeb Halo Beriti
The Gedeb Halo Beriti processing site of METAD was established in 2006. More than 7000 outgrowers deliver their coffee to the washing station, growing coffee nearby at elevations between 1900–2900 meters. 100,000–200,000 kg of coffee cherries is collected and processed daily, being dried on 250 raised beds for 14–19 days after being pulped using a Penagose Eco Pulper.
I was impressed by the operations of METAD. The operation is highly organized; every lot is traced through each step of the process through drying and storage. They have facilities here for workers at the station including offices, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.
Finally, the weather conditions this year were very favorable for coffee production, and we can expect plentiful supply and high quality coffee from Ethiopia.