The Coffee Heroes of Ethiopia

How women agronomists in Ethiopia have improved the lives of coffee farmers, as well as their own.

Ethiopia sure has a lot to thank their women agronomists for. They’re working with coffee farmers to improve their crops, which are now doing so well that some of the farmers have been able to move from traditional huts to better quality houses, send their children to school and buy cows, which help diversify income. With Nespresso’s support, 37 of Ethiopia’s 105 TechnoServe-trained agronomists are now women. Not only are these remarkable women improving the gender gap, they’re an inspiration to other women. We speak to some of these coffee champions.

Emmush Kasa, 25

Not only have farmers in Emmush’s community benefitted from her expertise, her family has, too.

The latter are also coffee farmers and their crops have improved so much they can now afford satellite TV. Lots of their relatives come to the house so they can watch it together.

Abinet Chebude, 26

One of the coffee farmers Abinet trained has earned enough to build a house that’s the envy of the local community. He also sends his children to private school.

Thanks to her salary, Abinet can send her children to private school, too. She’s also the only woman in her village who owns a motorbike, which she hires out.

Meseret Kanto, 25

Meseret’s rightly proud that many of the farmers she’s been supervising are now producing much better coffee in higher amounts.

“What amazes me about this job is looking at farmers who’ve adopted the techniques I’ve shown them and seeing how their lives are changed,” she said.

What amazes me about this job is looking at farmers who’ve adopted the techniques I’ve shown them and seeing how their lives are changed.

Aynalem Mutage, 21

Aynalem was so enthusiastic during her training to become a coffee agronomist, run by Nespresso’s partner TechnoServe, a non-profit organisation, that she was given a prize for extra effort.

She’s been really successful as an agronomist. One of the farmers she’s supported has been awarded prizes by both the government’s agricultural department and TechnoServe for his ‘model farm’. He’s also been able to buy his son a ‘badaj’, which is a three-wheeled car.

Abinet Delume, 32

All the farmers Abinet trains are now producing such fantastic coffee that their co-operative has been able to invest in community projects, including classrooms.

“It’s so satisfying,” said Abinet of her job. “Coffee agronomy is a practical thing, where you can see the results. The farmers are satisfied and happy.”