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The Stumping Project

Last year we partnered with three Ethiopian coffee farmers to help triple their crop in three years. Ethiopian coffee farmers can achieve a living income by rejuvenating their coffee trees over a three-year period through a process known as stumping. This initiative put forward by our import partners, Falcon Coffees aims to double the coffee income of Ethiopian coffee farmers.

Stumped trees deliver increased yields and better quality coffee, which can ultimately contribute to providing a living income for Ethiopian farmersCurrently, the largest impediment to increased coffee productivity in Ethiopia is the lack of tree rejuvenation, also known as “stumping.” Stumping coffee trees is the most critical step to improving yields and quality and is a prerequisite to achieving the impact of additional good agricultural practices (GAPs). However, even though stumping a 25-year-old tree can generate yields equal to, or better than those of young trees, Ethiopian smallholder coffee farmers are reluctant to stump primarily due to the immediate, acute, and short-term loss of income for 1.5 years while their tree stems regrow.

A two-year pilot project conducted by the international development nonprofit TECHNOSERVE in Sidamo, Ethiopia, demonstrated the impact sponsored tree-stumping can achieve.This pilot found that if farmers can be persuaded and incentivized to stump old trees, they can achieve the following outcomes over a three-year period: –

After one harvest without production, these stumped trees will return to yields at 70% of pre-stumped levels in the second year – In the following year’s harvest, these trees will have the potential to produce between two and four times more cherries for the next six years

The Stumping Process

STEP 1 Select old trees that require stumping.No more than a 1/4 of a farm.

STEP 2 Cut at a height of 30cm from the ground, at an angle of 45° away from the stump

STEP 3 Once the suckers are 20-30 cm high, select the best 3 suckers to become the new main stems.

STEP 4 After 18 months, the new main stems will start to produce cherries.

Training, Verification, Reward

For the full duration of this three-year project, The Stumping Project will train farmers, using TechnoServe’s Coffee Farm College methodology, in small, self-selected Focal Farmer Groups (FFGs) of roughly 30 farming households. Small groups have the benefit of enabling field-based classrooms and demonstration plots where farmers can see first-hand the results of GAPs. Highly trained women and men Farm Trainers, that have been recruited from local communities will provide monthly, activity-based lessons that allow farmers to engage in the practical application of the training they receive.

STEPS TO DISTRIBUTION OF INCENTIVES

1) After harvest (January), trainers will teach farmers how to renew their trees using the stumping technique. Stumping needs to occur directly after the previous harvest and before flowering (March).

2) In the weeks that follow (February), the TechnoServe Farmer Trainers will visit the trained farmers to establish which farmers have elected to stump. These farms will then be placed on record.

3) Based on these records, a verification survey (March – May) will be rolled out, where each farm on the list will be audited to capture:• the number of trees that have been stumped• the GPS co-ordinates and shape of the stumped area• basic details about the farmer At the end of these surveys, a Guarantee Card will be handed out to the farmer indicating the type of incentive toolset they will receive based on the number of stumped trees.

4) In June and July, distribution events will be held at the farmer group level (FFG) where the tools are given to farmers according to their registered package (Guarantee Card) in the system.

We recently received an update on the three farmers that we are supporting and some information on their farms. We will keep you updated with our little stumping project over the next three years. 

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