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PUR Lab activities in Ethiopia

Buna Tatata?” (Let’s have some coffee?) This was how Jessica Jean-François (Harvard University) and Anteneh Adane (Hawassa University, Ethiopia) started the day in Yirgalem, Ethiopia.


As part of the PUR Lab activities together with our project partners a study was conducted to assess agroforestry and self-sufficiency programs to coffee farmers in Ethiopia. During this summer, supervised by the technical direction, Jessica and Anteneh conducted a research study on the livelihoods of the program beneficiaries and their non-beneficiary counterparts. This study serves as the baseline for socio-economic impact assessment of the project.

They tell us the everyday life of Matafe, one of the rare women farmer living in Kinante kebele*, Ethiopia:

“Matafe, age 36, wakes up daily at 6:30 am in her home in Kinante and prepares for the day. Like many of her neighbors, her house is built with a bamboo and mud body and a straw roof. She is saving to build a slightly more modern home with a cement body and a tin roof, like a few of the other farmers in the neighborhood. She uses the water she collected from the central water source in Bokasso to wash up and prepares three out of her five children for school. Abebe and Ayana go to school during the morning shift, 9am-12pm, and Dawit goes to school during the afternoon shift, 1-5pm. Her other two children are not yet old enough for school. Matafe reached 6 grade before stopping her education so sending her children to school means a lot to her although it is one of her biggest expenses after buying food.

Like 84% of farmers in the area, Matafe grows coffee on her 0.88 hectares of farming land. She also grows chat, enset, cereals and a few fruits and vegetables. She sells 76% of her coffee yield and 98% of the chat produced. At an exchange rate of 1 USD to 22.11 Ethiopian birr, she makes about 369.45 USD per year.

Matafe usually gets help from two of her family members to work on the farm. She’s been growing coffee for about 17 years and has been farming for about 20 years. While the chat annual yield average is 117,32 kg producing 1’953,71 Ethipian Birr, coffee yields are on average 622,51kg leading to 5’567,86 Ethiopian Birr in income. That said, although chat produces much faster, the coffee yield is much larger and provides higher income.
After spending the morning tending to her crops, Matafe spends the afternoon caring for her livestock, three cows and one sheep. When sick, she travels either to the Bokasso Health Center which is closer or further to Yirgalem Hospital for more severe illnesses. Both locations offer ambulance service in case of serious emergencies, reaching Bokasso in about 5 minutes and Yirgalem Hospital in 30 minutes.

Matafe has hopes of increasing the productivity of her farm. When her day is done, around 6pm, she imagines sending her children to better schools, building a nice house in town and seeing improved infrastructure develop in her neighborhood. She values the religious and cultural practice in her community and the unity she shares with her neighbors and would not like to see that change.”

* Matafe is a fictive farmer.

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