The Buncho washing station lies in the town of Shantawene, located in the Southern region of Sidama. Roughly 940 smallholders in the region use the mill, growing coffee on lots no bigger than 5 hectares on average.
The washing station is run by our exporting partner Daye Bensa, where only the ripest cherries are handpicked for selection. Here the washing process begins, the cherries are submerged in tanks, de-pulped and transferred into fermentation tanks for 24hrs, mucilage is then removed, and the coffee is rested for 12-15 days.
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The Buncho washing station is owned by Asefa Dukamo. As a teen he would travel great distances to deliver coffee to neighbouring washing stations. This hereby began his idea to construct his own washing station that would help reduce the travel time for coffee farmers in the region. He constructed his first washing station in 1997 and set up another two the following year. Asefa’s younger brother, Mulugeta Dukamo, co-founded Daye Bensa and played a key role in the expansion of the washing stations. Today, Daye Bensa has 20 washing stations, 5 mills and 3 coffee farms.
The region of Sidama maintains an ideal climate to produce high quality coffee with its fertile soils and high altitudes. That said, producers within the region face a number of challenges, including a lack of access to electricity, water, telecommunication, and road access. Farmers also suffer from reduced exposure to knowledge on the best coffee farming practices. Through their ‘Back to the Community’ projects, Daye Bensa has been working hard to improve these issues faced by producers, including building roads to connect villages, installing electricity transformers and supplying farmers with training in coffee plantation etiquette and better agricultural practices.
Most of the coffee produced in this region is naturally 100% organic, though this not certified due to high certification costs, as farmers cannot afford to apply chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or herbicides.