The Konga Cooperative, founded in 1975, is located in Yirgacheffe; the most densely populated part of Ethiopia and the country’s leading producer of coffee. It began with a group of 275 women and 1,000 men and has since grown to nearly 4,000 members.
Building direct relationships with coffee producers is an important part of our purchasing model. Direct relationships are more difficult in Ethiopia, where the government requires that coffee be sold either through the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange or through a private cooperative union. We purchase this coffee through a cooperative union, YCFCU, and Interamerican Coffee. Having these strong and trustworthy organizations in our supply chain helps us achieve transparency.
YCFCU gives 70% of profits back to the farmers in the form of a second payment (keeping 30% for administrative costs). Then, the community makes a collective decision about what to do with this second payment. In the past it has been put towards schools, roads, medical clinics and electricity.