Duromina, which means ‘to improve their lives’ in the Afan Oromo language, is a coffee cooperative in southwestern Jimma Zone. Coffee has grown here for generations but was traditionally processed using the dry or natural method. Farmers paid little attention to quality control and despite an ideal climate and altitude for coffee growing, the area’s coffee was synonymous with poor quality. On paper, these farmers had it all; very high altitude, rich and fertile soils, Ethiopia’s incredibly complex heirloom varietals and good rainfall. Year after year, farmers received low prices for their coffee, earning little income as a result. The missing link was quality control.
In 2010, around one hundred local coffee farmers banded together to form Duromina. As the name suggests, their goal was simple: to improve their lives. The Coffee Initiative – a project established by Technoserve and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – was influential in establishing and developing fledgling cooperatives like Duromina. With technical support, business advice and access to finance, the members acquired and installed a wet mill and began processing fully washed coffee for the first time. As part of the Coffee Initiative, our importer Falcon Coffees acted as guarantor for 47 farming groups, representing 100,000 people, so that they qualified for bank loans which were integral to the project. These improvements helped Duromina produce high-quality coffee and bring new prosperity to the community.
Two years later, an international panel of professional judges would select Duromina’s coffee as the best in Africa, awarding the cooperative the top prize in the leading regional cupping competition.