“Establishing an export market for certified responsible coffee with smallholder producer groups in Uganda” 2006 – 11 Kisozi Sub-County, Kamuli District, Central Eastern Uganda Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 3,512
The overall goal of this project is to contribute to sustainability, pro-poor growth and social equity in coffee farming in Uganda by assisting smallholder coffee growers. Specifically the three levels of intervention are: 1. improving coffee productivity and quality; 2. obtaining certification from ‘UTZ Certified’, the leading certification program for responsible coffee production; 3. organising farmers so that they become empowered to sell coffee without the interventions of middle men and are able to directly access the international market for responsible coffee.
Achievements: In Kamuli, KULIKA Uganda implemented a coffee project to establish an export market, using sustainable agriculture approaches as the major intervention. KULIKA Uganda organised the farmers across the sub county of 9 parishes into groups of 25 to 30 members. These groups have been led by Key Farmer Trainers (KFTs) who have been trained in Sustainable Organic Agriculture (SOA), a farming method which keeps production in line with consideration of environmental, social and economic concerns, and also the ‘UTZ Certified’ Code of Conduct. The training included developing knowledge and skills in sustainable methods of production, not only in coffee, but in other crops and livestock, as well as other aspects of farming, including: soil and water conservation; soil fertility building and management; crop and livestock management; integrated pests, weeds & diseases management; farm integration; records management; vegetable production; appropriate technologies; home hygiene; farm planning and management; environmental conservation; marketing.
Once trained, these KFTs in turn train fellow farmers through farmer-to-farmer extension with the help of KULIKA Uganda tutors. In total, the trained KFTs lead 141 groups comprising 3,512 farmers. KULIKA Uganda has also established 4 coffee nursery sites in the sub county with 177,000 seedlings for farmers to access as clean planting materials, in order that they can increase coffee acreage and productivity.
Before the project, soils were depleted, hence production was very low. Diseases were rampant, leading farmers to abandon their coffee plantations. Now, farmers can harvest an average of 2.1kgs of dry coffee from 1 tree as compared to 0.25kgs before the project started. Farmers can sell up to 1,500 kg of dry coffee from 500 trees, compared with 100kgs before. The health of the farmers has improved as a result of eating a more balanced diet, improvements in hygiene and diversified income from their farms. Medical and household expenses have also been greatly reduced, helping farmers to be able to start making major investments and improving their way of life by, for example, constructing better houses, buying better means of transport, sending children to better schools and improving communication through the acquisition of mobile phones.
The ‘UTZ Certified’ Code of Conduct Certification was first awarded in November 2007 and has been renewed every year, with increasing numbers of farmers reaching the standard required for certification. Compliance with this code has led to premiums on certified coffee, higher incomes through improved yields and better base prices. Historically, responsible and traceable coffee yields an average premium of 10% above current market prices. Achieving UTZ Certified certification and the improvement in productivity and quality that this entails is doing much to improve the position of smallholder coffee farmers in the coffee sector, empowering them to better access the international market and receive a fair price for their coffee.
Most of the farmers practising sustainable agriculture relate success stories about their achievements as a result of implementing the knowledge and skills of SOA from KULIKA Uganda. As a result, many NGOs and government sectors, including LEAD, French Beans Project and NAADS, to name a few, select KULIKA Uganda Farmers trained in SOA for their own programs.
Certification The project has been certified four times from the time of its inception. The number of farmers who were certified is as follows: • 2007/8: 3,044 farmers • 2008/9: 3,088 farmers • 2009/10 : 3,234 farmers • 2010/2011: 3288 farmers With an ‘UTZ Certified’ certificate, coffee producers of all sizes and origin can demonstrate good agricultural practices, efficient farm management and responsible production of their coffee. For coffee buyers and roasters, the certificate is an assurance of responsible coffee production.
Depot Committees (DCs) DCs are structures formed by farmers themselves at parish level for the purposes of handling coffee bulking for easy and convenient access by the buyer. There are nine (9) DCs throughout the project area.