By Gabrielle Rosenau, September 2019
From October 2018, Ibero Uganda decided to offer its services to farmers not organized in farmers’ groups. We developed what we call the ‘Village Coffee Organizations’ (VCOs). We go to districts where coffee farmers never received good agricultural trainings nor finance, and we train them. We organize Farmers Field Schools (FFS) and we build capacities with lead farmers that are chosen among their pairs. We explain the benefits of selling their coffee already processed. We encourage them to add value to their production, so not only the farmers produce more, but they also get a better price for it. Here are 2 success stories among the VCO farmers:
In October 2018, 58-year old Luyinda Edward, joined the NKG BLOOM programme under the new and innovative business model of the Village Coffee Organisation (VCO). Edward lives in Ndagwe Sub-county in Lwengo district and has 18 acres of coffee trees. When Edward joined the programme, he started attending Farmer Field School (FFS) sessions that were organized as part of the activities under the programme for retooling farmers with agronomic skills required to improve the health of their coffee trees. For example, through these sessions, Edward admits that his coffee picking behavior has improved significantly and so is the quality of coffee from his farm. He has also learnt to implement important agronomic practices such as desuckering which, prior the FFS, were not prioritised. The FFS sessions have also promoted a harmonious working relationship within the community in his village. Before joining NKG BLOOM, Edward was clearing a loan from another source and could not afford buying fertilisers. He therefore enrolled on the program and was advanced 575 kgs of fertiliser (NPK) in March 2019 season. He has been applying fertilisers once a year but now thanks to NKG BLOOM programme, Edward is able to access and apply fertilizer to his coffee trees twice a year. Edward admits noticing a price difference through selling coffee to Ibero (Uganda) Limited than he would get when he sold the coffee at the hulling station.
Sseruyange Joseph decided to start selling his coffee to Ibero (Uganda) Ltd in November 2018 through Ndagwe-VCO. He owns 5 acres of coffee trees and was advanced 200 kgs of fertiliser (NPK) in the March 2019 season. During the same period, Joseph was also advanced a tarpaulin which ensured that he stopped drying his coffee on bare ground. He was also advanced a mobile money pre-payment for his coffee of UGX 500,000, which he used to top-up on his savings and used it to acquire a piece of land that he plans to use to expand his coffee farm. With fertiliser from NKG BLOOM, Joseph admits that the health of coffee trees has shown great improvement. For example, blossoming flowers have been intense that before and the coffee trees are ever green despite the dry season.