Establishment of a dry coffee warehouse
Written by Olika Urgessa, Cooperative advisor Ethiopia
Girara multipurpose cooperative was established in 1993 with an initial membership of 10 males and 2 females. Currently, cooperative membership has increased to 446 males and 229 females, totalling 675 members. The cooperative is located in the south of Ethiopia. Most of the land is used for growing coffee, the production of different crops and the rearing of animals.
The primary cooperative is governed by a seven-member (one female) board. Currently, the cooperative has 2 permanent staff members and more than 15 temporary workers during the collection and bulking of red cherry coffee.
Realisation of members’ investment ambition
Within six months, the primary cooperative established a dry coffee warehouse with the technical and financial support of Agriterra.
Agriterra started working with Girara multipurpose cooperative in 2023, after identifying the cooperative was suffering from the absence of a dry coffee warehouse. This limited the performance of the cooperative about collecting member produce and red cherry coffee, thus, generated less income for the cooperative.
Immediately after the cooperative assessment, the Agriterra cooperative advisor and the board members engaged into dialogue and determined that the construction of a warehouse would take priority in the action plan for 2023. To realise the action plan, Agriterra supported the primary cooperative in obtaining a land certificate for 4056 m2 through communication with the stakeholders.
Next to a land certificate, the Agriterra cooperative advisor talked with the board members and cooperative members about the process of realising the ambition of the cooperative. Finally, it was agreed that the construction of a dry warehouse could be realised through internal capitalisation, when members volunteer to contribute either in cash or in kind.
The cooperative members initiated the purchase of additional shares from the cooperative to be used for the construction of the warehouse. Within two months, the members of the cooperative delivered the necessary materials for warehouse construction. Agriterra’ s basic concept of cooperatives as well as the roles and responsibilities training increased member motivation and contributed a lot in realising the BHAG in a short period of time.
Girara has owned the land without a land certificate for the past 30 years, but looked for an external party to construct the dry coffee warehouse. Agriterra’ s involvement brought a mindset change and within 30 days the members saw they were capable enough to construct the warehouse by using already available resources.
Agriterra's comprehensive support to the Girara cooperative has yielded remarkable results:
- The realisation of members’ ambition, investment - construction of a dry coffee warehouse.
- Created job opportunities during the construction of the warehouse.
- Increased trust between board members and members of the cooperative
- For the next production year the constructed warehouse can be used as collateral to access working capital loan.
- Members' commitment to supply their produce increased.
- New members joining the cooperative.
- Additional shares sold to members.
Olika Urgessa, cooperative advisor Ethiopia, says: “We are happy to see the result of our support to the Girara multipurpose cooperative in achieving its members' goals within six months. A result-oriented client support approach contributes to team success.”