Improving the welfare of Women in Coffee through the Heifer project.
Like any other part of Africa, women play a leading role in the agricultural sector in general terms and coffee in particular. Women in Ibanda start their day at 5.30 am. Their responsibilities range from; preparing food and ensuring food security, gardening, availing water and firewood for home use, providing clothing for the family, laundry, caring for the children and making sure the husband has a good meal at the end of the day.
The heifer project in partnership with Solidaridad was rolled out on 25th January 2010 and ten women were the first proud beneficiaries. Several generations of female heifers have been passed on to other Women in Coffee in Ibanda.
The Central Coffee Nursery
Ankole Coffee Processors Limited established a central coffee nursery with a capacity of producing between 250,000-300,000 seedlings per annum. The intension is to provide high quality planting materials to the small holder farmers in the district of Ibanda, Kiruhura, Kamwenge, Mbarara, Buhweju and Bushenyi.
Coffee Agricultural Extension Services
This programme is to provide Farmers with coffee agricultural extension services through their producer groups and practical demonstrations at the demonstration sites the company has established with some of the farmers. The company has a well trained and experienced team of field extensionists who travel deep into the villages to guide and train the farmers on the best coffee agronomic and post-harvest practices.
Village Saving and Lending Scheme (VSLA), in Partnership with IDH
ACPL has also over the last two years, in partnership with IDH facilitated farmers to establish producer groups with a Village Saving and Lending Scheme component (VSLA). There are now currently 80 saving and Credit Schemes and out of these, 25 have upgraded to work with financial institutions. The long term vision is to have all these VLSAs united under one umbrella body to establish a farmers owned microfinance scheme within one farmer co-operative.
As part of this project, IDH and ACPL provided metallic saving boxes for safety of the collected funds before they can move such funds to a financial institution.
Provision of Farm inputs to over 6,500 Farmers
ACPL in partnership with IDH has provided farm inputs to over 6,500 farmers through the Village agents and these include; tarpaulins, hoes, pruning saws, fertilizers, gum boots, bow saws all aimed at improving productivity and revenues of the small holders.
ACPL currently works with 2,340 UTZ certified small holder farmers having acquired the current renewed license in September 2017. Under this, farmers are trained to comply with specific codes of conduct and standards of good social, environmental, business, transparent and agricultural practices in order to access good competitive premium prices in Europe and elsewhere on the world market
This programme in partnership with PSFU has enabled the farmers sell over 200mt of their coffee as UTZ certified for a premium.
- i. Promoting Domestic Coffee Consumption
- ii. Certification of small holder farmers in Ibanda District.
Promotion of Domestic Coffee Consumption
- - Promotion of domestic coffee consumption is being done through the use of a coffee mobile cart that has been to different parts of the country over the last two years.
- - A second phase to this project is underway to have another similar cart on the road to reach more Ugandans. Under this phase the following has been done so far:
- - A local fabricator has been identified and taken through the specifics of what is to be done. A formal quotation and design are expected by end of October and fabrication is to start thereafter.
Certification of Small Scale Farmers in Ibanda
- - So far, a total of 1,075 Farmers in Ibanda have been contracted and are now ready to be audited and certified.
- - Of this total, 35% are females and 13% are youths.
- - All farmers have been grouped into groups of 25-30 farmers, trained in the key UTZ Standard aspects in preparation for the certification slated for November 19th 2015.
Challenges and Way ForwardACPL lacked a project implementation officer when this second phase rolled out. This has however been addressed as an experienced officer was brought on board in June 2015. Most of the farmers are ageing and the coffee trees are old. ACPL is addressing this through;
- - On-going partnership with UCDA to avail quality planting materials
- - Identifying & supporting two other nurseries through trainings so all project farmers have access to planting materials.
Future PlansACPL would like to commit to this partnership with Solidaridad and to work with more farmers as well as develop the PDCC further. We however would like to consolidate the on-going efforts in both areas of the project this year and propose increment of the number of farmers certified every year as well as procure another coffee cart and station it in the project area.
The Sustainable Coffee Program, by IDH, is a global, pre-competitive public-private initiative where IDH has partnered with ACPL in a 2 year with the aim of increasing production, yields and export availability of sustainably grown coffee, enabling coffee producers to become more resilient in an ever-changing market.
The project area is the 3 districts of Ibanda, Kiruhura and Kamwenge.
We have a factory and field office located at Nyabuhikye 5 kilometers from Ibanda town in Ibanda District; and is currently working in partnership with small holder coffee Farmers and other value chain actors from the neighbouring Districts. Our coordinating office is located on Plot 6/8 Nyondo Close, Bugolobi Industrial Area , in Kampala.