Coffee has become the foundation of Ethiopia’s economy, employing 15 million people and accounting for 70% of the country’s exports. Beyond being an economic fundamental, coffee is also a sense of local pride and heritage.
However, the production of coffee has not always been beneficial to farmers. To change that; and help farmers comply with international standards, enabling farmers to freely participate in international trade, the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) was launched in 1999. Based in Ethiopia’s largest state, Oromia, the OCFCU was the first cooperative with Fairtrade and organic certifications. Now with more than 197 members, the cooperative is also the biggest in Ethiopia.
As part of OCFCU, Gobez represents farmers in North America. Our motto is farmers first. Because by placing farmers first we’re able to deliver a superior product that both farmers and our customers can be proud of.
To ensure we’re committed to our farmer’s first philosophy, we begin by upskilling farmers to ensure they can consistently produce the quality our customers expect. We listen to – and solve – their grievances and implement technology that ensures they meet the OCFCU’s and our traceability standards. Beyond that, we introduce them to ethical business practices that ensure they’re treating their pickers the way they should. In doing this, we’ve allowed so many more farmers to feel confident in the quality of their exports and have facilitated growth in the region
North America is a significant coffee market, consuming nearly 400 million cups of coffee a day, the equivalent of 20% of the world’s coffee consumption. Therefore, to maximize those statistics, our purpose at Gobez is to link Ethiopian farmers to this market.
Even as a contributor to the bean belt, Ethiopia only supplies 3% of the world’s coffee needs. We want to change that.
Ethiopia has over one thousand varieties of coffee beans grown at elevated levels. With this kind of variety, it would reason that Ethiopia would be the preferred provider for the world’s coffee supply.
However, the reason Ethiopia has not dominated the market like other regions is that the country has not made a concerted effort to enter certain territories.
To change this, we at Gobez are building the link between our Ethiopian farmers and the North American market. Introducing the rich heritage and unmatched flavors to this new market and letting our North American customers taste why Ethiopian coffee should be the world’s leading coffee. After all, we are the birthplace of coffee.