The Duromina cooperative was created in 2010 by a group of 113 coffee producers in an isolated region near the town of Agaro in Jimma. The Jimma region in southwestern Ethiopia is infamous for its low-quality production of the Djimma 5 grade. The grade is synonymous with poorly produced and processed natural coffee. A low quality that pairs with low selling prices for the coffee, both nationally and internationally. The producers joined forces to change their lives and future, an ambition reflected in the name chosen for the cooperative. Duromina literally means “to become rich” in the local language.
Enter Technoserve. The Technoserve Coffee Initiative is an American development project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Technoserve gives support on various levels to poor agricultural communities across the world. For Ethiopia, the goal of the project was simple but audacious: to double the household income of 1 million farmers. A big goal, for sure. But one worth pursuing, and one which Kata Muduga continues to address on a daily basis.
The Duromina cooperative is part of the Kata Muduga Multipurpose Farmers’ Cooperative Union. Kata Muduga is the umbrella organization supporting some of the biggest and best coffee-producing cooperatives in Ethiopia today. It’s also one of the most farmer-focused Unions. It consistently generates some of the highest prices paid to farmers in the country! The Union’s General Manager, Asnake Nigat, has been part of the story of these coffees from the beginning. Asnake was a business advisor with the Technoserve Coffee Initiative, a development project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.