The Yayu Coffee Forest Reserve Project is the award winner of SCA Sustainability Award Winners 2019 in Project category.
This project is located in Oromiya Regional State, in the south-western part of Ethiopia and has been rewarded because they were mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and climate resilience at Yayu Biosphere Reserve.
Being one of the major location of coffee farming, it is important to keep an eye on the sustainability of Ethiopia’s wild coffee forests. The Yayu Coffee Forest Reserve is noted for its particularly high levels of natural (wild) coffee genetic diversity. 450 flowering plants, 200 bird, 50 mammal and 20 amphibian species were found in the zone, forests remain intact and largely undisturbed. Wild coffee plants and other natural vegetation were allowed to grow freely and agricultural activities were limited within the buffer zone. To resolve the struggle between a living of the coffee farmers and environmental protection, organizations like Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF; Ethiopia), Union Hand-Roasted Coffee (UHRC; London), HiU Coffee (El Salvador and Panama) and Kew stepped in and help improving their income by elevating the coffee quality produced in this area to meet the level of specialty coffee. Which is the Yayu Coffee Forest Reserve Project. In the project, training were given in different aspects like coffee harvesting, post-harvest processing, cup evaluation and export logistics.
In two years time, income by enabling Yayu coffee farmers (over 5,000 household members) to significantly increase the cash value of their coffee harvest, and on completion of the project for income improvement to be self-sustaining. And more importantly, biodiversity of the forest were successfully reserved and coffee farmers in Yayu are now having a better understanding of farming adaptation methods and through financial stability, enable investment in climate resilience.