TMEA partnered with Uganda’s NUCAFE to invest in a coffee roasting machine. This enabled farmers to process coffee beans, ultimately increasing the value of their produce by 30% as compared to selling raw unprocessed beans.
NUCAFE seeks to improve the lives of coffee farmers by promoting a farmer ownership model. The model holds that farmers should own their product throughout the value chain, from the coffee beans to the final export product.
For a long time, farmers were only “custodians of coffee” says Joseph Nkandu the Executive Director of Nucafe, one of TMEA’s partner in Uganda. They sold raw coffee to cooperatives, where it was de-husked, sorted and graded. At each stage of the value chain the price of coffee increased, but the growers only received payment for the minimum value at the first stage.
Coffee farmers have been advised to embrace research for improved coffee yields and production, as one of the goals to achieve the 20 million coffee bags target by the year 2020.
Farmers who have been relying on government for seeds will have to dig deeper in their wallets to meet the costs as government, beginning with the next season, will no longer fund the programme, Daily Monitor has learnt.
Government has started an initiative to woo farmers who have unutilised land to allocate it to coffee growing in a move meant to achieve social economic transformation.
Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Personally, I would argue that a small group is typically organized and led by one person. Here in Uganda, I found the one.
To be fair, I have been in Uganda three days and I could say this about any number of the remarkable social entrepreneurs I’ve met, but Joseph Nkandu embodies that more than most. Philanthropist Jeff Miller, the namesake of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, noted in his remarks at a brief ceremony at the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises, always abbreviated NUCAFE, that most people lack the ambition to dream of doing what Joseph has done: remake a national industry.