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(excerpt: full-story available here)
In this area of Ethiopia, lower-producing farms are spread out over larger areas, oftentimes overlapping or fully within large swaths of protected forest. Land ownership is an issue here, as estates bring in outsiders but bring roads, jobs, housing and schools. Smallholders are in an interesting position to gain from new laws allowing for more direct export as some of the country’s top cooperatives unite under the new Kata Maduga Union to triple their income over the past two years. In November 2017, we met farmers: new farmers known to customers as Girma Eshetu, Efrem and Kossa Geshe, and to Biftu Gudina, one of the 26 smallholder cooperatives that’s member to Kata Maduga.