After a bushfire, with a mind on forest conservation, Tesfaye Bekele started the organic-certified Suke Quto Farm and washing station in the Guji region.
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Suke Quto owner Tesfaye Bekele worked for the government in natural resource management for many years before becoming a coffee farmer. His focus on ecological conservation as well as coffee quality make this relationship an inspiring one to be a part of. We're proud to offer Suke Quto as a single origin again this year. Tesfaye Bekele started Suke Quto after a bushfire with the idea to grow and process environmentally-friendly coffee and help to sustain the local community with a consistent income source. On our recent visit to the Suke Quto farm, Tesfaye said, “this is a forest, not a farm.” This sentiment certainly resonated throughout our visit; it was impressive to see the integration of coffee with the forest. The Suke Quto farm itself is very beautiful, healthy, and thriving with biodiversity.
Suke Quto represents a washing station which serves 373 out-growers and three farms. Set on gentle slopes between mountains and highland plateaus in the Guji Zone, the farmland has dark brown, volcanic, loamy soil with rich nutrients. The elevation ranges from 1850-2200 meters above sea level. Many of the farmers who contribute to Suke Quto live in the village of Kumure, close to the washing station. Tesfaye saw a need in the community to rebuild the local school for both the workers and the farmer’s children, to give them a safe and healthy place to learn. He brought the idea of improving the school’s facilities to Trabocca, one of Stumptown’s import partners, and we were able to help fund a portion of it through our partnership with them.
Tesfaye doesn’t use chemical fertilizers but instead utilizes cherry pulp from the washing station as compost. He also uses the natural mulch from fallen foliage, leaves the clippings from weeding around the coffee trees, and relies on the natural decomposition of other forest life. Cultivating a native crop, like coffee, that can live under a natural tree canopy allows for the conservation of a buffer to protect the overall habitat of all living things in that ecosystem.