Like in most of Ethiopia, growers in the Uraga district are smallholders, aka “garden farmers,” so called because most of them are producing coffee in the “garden” areas around their homes, and often harvesting cherries from coffee occurring naturally on the land where they live. Farm sizes tend to be between .5 to 2 hectares in size on average, though occasionally can reach upwards of 10 hectares. The average yearly yield in green coffee from the smaller farms is around 2 to 4 bags.
Thanks to a 2017 change in legislation which the founders of Catalyst Trade, Michael, Emily, and Zelalem, had the privilege of influencing through a case study about export company exposure to risk, private washing stations such as Lecho Torka have more options than simply selling their coffees at the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). Instead, they can work with invested importers like Catalyst Trade, working together on harvesting and processing protocols, and critically observing a coffee’s lifespan from farm to export preparation. This approach empowers a better distribution of equity amongst all stakeholders and long-term sustainability on all sides.