Fero cooperative, one of Sidama Coffee Farmers Union’s 45 member co-ops, grows some of the world’s best coffee in 3,000 hectares of rich volcanic soil. Fero’s central collection and washing station remains busy into the evening during December’s peak harvest, as the co-op’s more than 4,000 farmers work overtime picking ripe cherries. The wet mill pulps and washes an average of 446 tons (7,433 bags) of clean beans each year.
From humble beginnings, Fero coffee growers have employed the Relationship Coffee Model to build social and economic resiliency in an impoverished and turbulent region. Fifty-three coffee farmers founded Fero co-op in 1976. The organization has since grown to include 4,160 members, and its capital value has increased 650-fold.