Tesfaye Bekele

Region

Kumure, Guji Zone, Ethiopia

Partnered with Stumptown

2007

Varieties

Welicho and Kurume

Processing techniques

Washed

Elevation

1800-2200 Meters

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Ethiopia Suke Quto

Tesfaye Bekele started Suke Quto with the idea to grow and process environmentally-friendly coffee and to help sustain the local community with a consistent income source.

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Suke Quto represents two farms and a washing station that serves 287 outgrowers in the Guji highlands. Tesfaye Bekele worked for the government in natural resource management for many years before becoming a coffee farmer. Tesfaye started Suke Quto farm in the Odo Shakisso woreda of Guji after a bushfire destroyed much of the native forest in the area. He observed farmers going to the area to plant corn, a crop he feared would contribute to soil erosion. He wanted to find a crop that would generate income for the community, but also help reestablish the natural environment after the forest was lost. Tesfaye began planting coffee, an indigenous plant, and producing seedlings, eventually inspiring area farmers as well. To this day Tesfaye still sees Suke Quto as a conservation effort first, and a business second.

Suke Quto’s coffee consists predominantly of two coffee varieties: Welicho and Kurume. Large cherries with a purplish-red color and deep green leaves distinguish the Wolichoo variety. In contrast, Kurumee’s beans are small and dense. Tesfaye’s farm is a semi-forest farm, where a combination of native and shade trees provide cover for the coffee plants. For fertilization, Tesfaye allows the natural mulch from fallen leaves and clippings from weeding around the coffee trees to add nutrients back to the soil.

In addition to his own farms, Tesfaye also purchases cherry from a network of 287 outgrowers in the area. Most of the farmers who bring their coffee to the Suke Quto washing station cultivate their coffee, grow vegetables and raise cattle on small farms. Set on gentle slopes between mountains and highland plateaus near the village of Kumure in the Guji Zone, the farmland has volcanic, loamy soils, rich with nutrients. Outgrowers deliver their cherry to the Suke Quto washing station, where it is depulped and fermented for up to 48 hours before being dried slowly on raised beds.

Stumptown has been purchasing organic coffee from Suke Quto since 2010. Tesfaye’s experience as an agronomist, horticulture specialist, and coffee quality specialist has elevated Suke Quto’s coffee over the years. But his leadership and vision has also greatly contributed to the surrounding community. Many of the farmers who contribute to Suke Quto live in the village of Kumure, close to one of the washing stations. Tesfaye saw a need in the community to rebuild the local school for both the workers’ and the farmers’ children, to give them a safe and healthy place to learn. Since 2015, Tesfaye and our import partner Trabocca have been working to renovate and expand the facilities so that the 1,200 students who go to school in Kumure have a sanitary and comfortable learning environment. Stumptown has co-funded this project for three years. Our most recent contribution in 2020 was put towards the construction of a second block of classrooms and restrooms for the students.

We are proud to partner with Tesfaye Bekele – a community leader, a steward of the land, and an exceptional coffee producer.

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