An Ethiopian legend speaks of a young goatherder named Kaldi. One day, he was out tending his flock when he noticed how lively his goats had become.
Eventually, he figured out that it was the unique red berries they were eating from the trees that were causing them to act this way.
Kaldi took the berries to the Monastery, where the head monk threw them into the fire. The heavenly aroma filled the rooms and the rest is history.
They all realized that there was something special about these cherries. Eventually, Kaldi’s discovery caught on and many people began to cultivate and experience the coffee beans for themselves.
The Importance Of Coffee For Ethiopia’s Economy
For more information regarding Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, read our dedicated guide!
Coffee is one of Ethiopia’s leading exports. At least 34% of the outside revenue collected comes from coffee. Nearly every job in Ethiopia is somehow connected to the coffee industry.
Coffee is a huge Ethiopian business that impacts the economy, and millions of lives within the nation. At the heart of the coffee industry are the farms that produce the beans.
Ethiopian farmers are among the primary people that help to keep the country’s economy strong. Their dedication to their careers is extremely important for the economic survival of the nation.
Daily Routines Of Ethiopian Farmers
Farmers in Ethiopia have a very hard life. Their lives are very similar to farmers from other nations around the world. These farmers put in a lot of work, and get relatively low returns for their effort. Most still have a hard time paying bills and supporting their family.
An Ethiopian farmer will get up between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. They will quickly clean themselves up and get a simple breakfast. Breakfast will vary by each farmer’s household.
However, most farmers will eat a banana based cereal, or they will consume some type of meal featuring bread and coffee. Ambasha bread is a popular breakfast food in the country for all people, including farmers.
Keep in mind that many farmers will start to work during the cool time of the day, and go inside when the sun is at its hottest. Once it starts to cool off again, they will head back outside to work.
Seasonal Duties For Ethiopian Coffee Growers
After the farmers eat, they will then perform various duties according to the farming season they are in. If they are in the planting phase of the farming cycle, they will go out and clear the land.
They will then plant coffee trees in the best position for growth, and they will also check the soil to ensure that the trees have the best optimal conditions for health. Watering the young trees and frequently checking them for disease or predators are other tasks that must be performed.
Most farmers already have trees planted for growing coffees. Many must evaluate their trees to ensure they are ready for the upcoming season. They usually have to check all of them to ensure they are free from disease and other maladies.
Predators, such as monkeys or insects, can also harm coffee trees. So, farmers must keep them away as well. They often will have to prune and remove dead branches. This can be a lengthy and tedious process for many farmers and their workers.
Many farmers have a lot of land for growing coffee. Ensuring that their trees are in the best shape possible takes hard work. During the harvesting season, coffee growers must hire extra hands to pick the berries from the trees.
All of the workers must get up early, and get out to the trees before the hottest part of the day arrives. They will usually have to pick beans for up to 14 hours a day.
Some farmers will stay out in the fields well into the night time hours, trying to bring the coffee beans in. Once the beans have been picked, they must be cleaned and dried.
Many farmers do not have the resources to properly clean and store their crop. Much of it is stored in the ground. Ground storage creates a problem, because coffee absorbs the taste of the environment surrounding it.
Therefore, many Ethiopian coffee farmers must figure out ways to preserve their crop without it losing its original flavor. That task proves to be troublesome, as well.
Extra Duties For Coffee Growers
Coffee growers in Ethiopia must then get their product to the market. Many of them have a vehicle for this purpose, and some use old-fashioned methods, such as oxen or horses.
Keep in mind that many Ethiopian coffee farmers also grow secondary crops. They produce other items, such as millet, wheat, sorghum and corn. They also must tend to these crops while they focus on coffee production.
The hardest part of being an Ethiopian coffee farmer is putting forth the effort to protect and cultivate the crop, only to get a small return on their effort.
Coffee farming in Ethiopia is not a simple thing, but it is a traditional way of life for many people, and a very respectable profession.