Trabocca’s Tari: the resilience of a coffee farmer

Last week marked the launch of Trace and the partnership between Trabocca and Fairfood. That means that you can now see for yourself who the farmers behind your Trabocca coffee are, and how they are doing. We share the story of Tari Oda, one of the farmers behind Trabocca’s coffee. The resilience of a coffee farmer.

Dedicating one’s life to farming in exporting and producing countries means hard work that more often than not delivers a lot of hardships. One of these hardships is unfair prices that limit a farmer’s ability to generate a decent living income for themselves and their families.

Especially, coffee farmers are at a disadvantage since they are not selling an ‘end product’. Rather, they are selling a product that still needs to be processed. As a consequence, people are paying for the ‘end product’, but farmers are not seeing the profit. Transparency can be a solution to this problem: having transparency and traceability in our supply chains can show the provenance of our coffee and uncover the potential unfair prices that coffee farmers are receiving for their products.

New technologies, such as blockchain, make transparency and traceability possible. Trace, a new platform by Fairfood, integrates transparency and traceability into one platform to help food businesses eradicate socio-economic issues, like poverty and unfair pricing for the farmers behind our food.

Trabocca is one of the first users of the Trace platform, and is using it as a part of their living income roadmap. They want to know: are we paying enough for the farmers to earn a living wage? Tari Oda, a coffee farmer in the Guji province, is one of the farmers behind their coffee. Today we tell her story.

Journey to Guji
Tari Oda, a 35-year old farmer and young mother of six children, moved to Kumure – an area in the Guji province – with her husband and children ten years ago. Prior to their move to Guji, the couple owned their own livestock farm, when Oda’s husband heard that demand for coffee in Guji was growing. It was then that they decided to pack their bags and move to the province; Oda’s husband decided to buy some land and planted their first coffee seedlings as well as some corn and teff.

In the midst of growing their coffee business, Tari’s husband heard of a farmer in the region who owned a washing station – Tesfaye. After he discovered Tesfaye’s washing station, Tari’s husband consistently sold his coffee to the washing station; the couple started to make a decent income.

Despite their departure to Guji, the couple decided to keep both their livestock farm and their land; the time spent on each property would be shared proportionately. As their coffee business thrived and their livestock farm was properly taken care of, the couple’s life seemed to be looking up. An unexpected occurrence, however, turned Tari Oda’s life upside down: her husband passed away.

Tari Oda, however, was more than a wife: she was a mother and a farmer alongside her husband. Despite grieving her late husband, Oda decided to rise above the odds for the sake of her children; she wanted to make sure that her children received proper education: she rented a small house 17 km away so her children could attend school in a nearby village.

In the efforts of balancing all her activities and responsibilities, the mother, and farmer claims that she hardly has time, explaining that she is always ‘moving between her children, her farm and her land.’ When it comes to working on the lands and tending to the livestock, she explains that ‘when it is time to tend to her coffee trees, she works in the field and when it is not harvesting season, she travels back to her old residence to take care of the livestock farm.’

As an Ethiopian native, Tari Oda has grown to witness the changes that modernity has brought upon the country: now, vehicles have made it easy for residents to move from one place to another. Especially, when children get sick, it has become much easier to take them to a nearby health center. Further, Oda is also noticing changes in the education system. “In the past, there were no schools. Now, it is much easier to teach our kids”, she says.

When it comes to the environment, Oda assures that the people in the Guji province, especially coffee farmers, do not destroy Guji’s natural forest. On the contrary, Guji’s environment is fertile since the farmers have plenty of rain and they keep the trees on their lands.

Oda’s future
Despite the positive changes in the country, Oda is worried about the costs of living that are constantly on the rise in Ethiopia. Seeing that coffee prices have remained relatively stable over the past years, Oda is concerned that the costs of living will surpass the money she is earning. The inability to earn a living income troubles Oda as she is mostly concerned about provision for her children. Nonetheless, as the head of the household, she has been an example of resilience and will keep improving for her and her children. She does not lose hope that things will get better. Just like when her husband was still alive.

Oda’s story of perseverance and hard work to provide for her children, show the importance, and reflect the purpose of having transparency and traceability in the supply chain. By using blockchain platforms, like Trace, that show us unequivocally where our products come from, we can not only check the claims made by our businesses, but we can also see who we are supporting.

You can now see the story behind your Trabocca coffee for yourself!

It seems you also care about the people behind our food.

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