Negusse Tadesse’s Tatmara farm is located in the administrative Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region. It sits in the heart of an ancient coffee region, 15 km from Bonga, in the village of Dakiti (Gimbo district). Kaffa is a birthplace of coffee.
The name “Tatmara” is derived from two words in the Kaffa language, “Tato” meaning king and “Mara” meaning forgiveness. And it was here that the successive kings of Kaffa used to travel once a year to pardon prisoners. This custom ended in the 19th century following annexation of the land by Emperor Menelik II.
The Negusse farm extends over 82 hectares, 5 of which are reserved for infrastructures, buildings and drying stations. With the help of his teams, he collects natural and honey forest coffees dried on African beds. The 77 hectares dedicated to coffee, which he has been cultivating for 10 years, are spread throughout a forest rich in endemic species. More than 30 varieties of trees surround the Negusse coffee plants, providing ideal shade for slow cherry ripening. Some trees, such as the qararo, are endangered in Ethiopia, and the agroforestry model developed by Negusse is a way of protecting them. This farm has a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna. Large numbers of monkeys and birds (some have even seen leopards) live among the constant buzz of insects, signs of a rich and healthy wildlife.
The farm’s biodiversity has allowed Negusse to pursue several lines of business, including the sale of spices, for example malagueta, and honey. The different tree species allow staggered flowering, meaning that he can collect three types of honey with very distinct characteristics. His Tatmara coffees, produced using the 74110, 74112 and WushWush varieties, offer a wide range of complex and interesting aromas.
Our teams are helping Negusse to preservethisrich ecological wealth. Our collaborative work has two important and inseparable areas of focus: promotion of the rare local biodiversity and an even higher quality coffee. Our agronomist, Marjorie, has organised several training sessions to improve harvesting and drying techniques. She has also helped Negusse’s teams to introduce the honey process. Fufa, who is our agronomist at the Addis Ababa office, Shambé and Jacques are on hand all year round to continue providing support.
Dried between 2 and 3 weeks on African beds.
Endemic forest | Forest coffee | Producer Coffee | Socially-committed producer | Sustainable agriculture awareness
Negusse’s story is a good illustration of the importance of tradition and coffee in Ethiopian culture. He did not initially choose coffee production as a profession. But after spending some years abroad, it was a path that opened itself up naturally to him.
For many years, Negusse Tadesse worked for the Ethiopian government, far from the wooded hills in his native region. The Kaffa schools took him to Jimma University, after which he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa as a civil servant. Following this, heworked for the Embassy of Ethiopia in Israel for ten years, between 1997 and 2007. He then feltit was time he returned to his roots, so decided on a dramatic career change. When he returned to Ethiopia, to Kaffa, he was attracted to its dynamic coffee industry and turned this new page in his life. It took him over a year to get his hands on some interesting plots, but since 2008 he has been farming a high-quality forest coffee in Tatmara, which he has been selling exclusively to Belco for two years.
He is very aware of Tatmara’s unique natural heritage, which he is determined to protect, and he is committed to the most sustainable farm management practices possible.