Äthiopien Suke Quto Honey
Ato Tesfaye Bekele is one of the people that put Guji specialty coffee on the map. While the Guji zone was dominated by cattle farmers, he sought new ways to make coffee popular in Guji. “I don’t consider myself to be a coffee farmer, because coffee is everything to me. All my time and energy are placed into the beans that I harvest and process.” Tesfaye Bekele, the founder of Suke Quto Farm, explains.
“I come from a coffee-producing family, so during my childhood, I started to work with coffee early on”, Tesfaye continues, “At first, coffee did not have my interest. The labor was hard, and the days were long. But after several years of study and other work I returned to my home in the Shakisso woreda, Guji. I found myself in coffee again”.
Tesfaye distributed large amounts of coffee seedlings among the community. He rented a big truck and started to divide this evenly. “People started to ask me how long it would take before this crop starts to yield cherries. I answered, ‘four to five years’, they gave the seedlings back to me after hearing this”. Disappointed by the lack of faith among his community, Tesfaye reserved a piece of land. Upon this small plot, he started a coffee seedling nursery with government money. Tesfaye wanted to prove that his idea to preserve Guji’s forest was the best alternative for the Guji people.
Tesfaye appointed several managers to overlook his nurturing ground, but all found the job not appealing because of years without tangible results. He could not find eager people, so he resigned from his job and became a coffee farmer. After his first harvest, the community, that first rejected the idea, returned to Tesfaye. “First, they run away, but later they came back and asked me to provide coffee seedlings. I am very proud of this idea because all the farms you see today in Guji are inspired by the Suke Quto Farm.”
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