Coffee farmer in Ethiopia

a year of turbulence for coffee farmers in ethiopia

Blog – 14 December 2017

Large protests in the beginning of 2017 caused hundreds of deaths and lots of damage for coffee farmers in Ethiopia. Also, climate change led to extreme changeable weather seasons. For the first time since the 1950s, frost damaged thousands of hectares of coffee, along with enset, which is a staple food crop.

Coffee is extremely sensitive to changing temperatures. Especially small-scale farmers are severely affected. They are dependent on the income their land generates and are financially unable to withstand the consequences of climate change and deforestation by demand for firewood.

Therefore FairClimateFund, in collaboration with coffee cooperation OCFCU, invests in the distribution of 20,000 cleaner cookstoves for 10,000 coffee farmers in the Ghimbi area. These efficient stoves reduce the use of firewood by 50% so trees can be used to protect the coffee plants and carbon emissions are reduced up to 70% compared to the previous situation. Also, the release of harmful soot particles is reduced by 24-45% and women save 30 minutes on cooking.

More than 10,000 efficient cookstoves installed
Last year approximately 4,000 efficient cookstoves were installed in our project area. In total, 10,121 cookstoves were ordered for 5,060 households and 8,581 were delivered. The challenge still remains with the delivery of the cookstoves. Terrains are hilly and difficult to access, there is hardly any public transport and villages and houses are widely spread. To tackle this problem, our local team uses a large truck to deliver the cookstoves at a central place in a village where farmers can pick up their cookstove.

Women empowerment
Besides promoting the efficient cookstoves in 2017, our local project partner invested a lot in user trainings. These promotions and trainings used to be focused on the farmers (read: men), but today mostly women are involved. They are asked to participate actively in the project, are stimulated to give the user trainings themselves and promote the use of the efficient cookstoves in their village.

A hopeful future
The implementation of the cookstove project in Ghimbi and surroundings doesn’t have an immediate effect on climate change, but positive effects are visible. Less wood is used for firewood and forests are protected which in turn protect the coffee plants from the harmful sunrays. Also, trainings on climate adaptation have proven successful and these effects, in combination with a stabilizing political situation, leads to a more hopeful future for Zarichun Fikadu and other coffee farmers in Ethiopia.

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