Farmer Stories

How through conventional farmer education Kule and Mary built a better life for their family.

Passionate coffee farmers based on the luscious slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda.

Farm

Located on a southern facing slope in the Rwenzori Mountains. An approximate area of 2 hectares. 

Altitude

1650 meters above sea level

Harvest

July & October

Country

Uganda

For Kule and Mary, two coffee farmers based in the Rwenzori mountains, they rely upon their small farm to provide an income year-round. Since Arabica coffee is one of the most profitable crops, they focus the majority of their efforts on ensuring they get the best harvest. 

The most obvious opportunities for improvement came in the form of education in farming practices. Kule and Mary wanted to understand how they could improve their yield and ensure the best possible price for their crop. This thirst for bettering their coffee was met when Agri Evolve was to establish a demonstration farm within walking distance from their home.

 

Agri Evolve is a ‘profit for purpose’ coffee processing station based in Kasese a small village in the foothills of the Rwenzoris. James, Head of Sourcing & Sales at Omwani Coffee was responsible for supporting setting up this venture alongside Managing Director Jonny Rowland back in 2015. The business is still responsible for collecting and processing the majority of the coffee produced in the Rwenzoris and works closely with farmers to improve their harvests.

"We received excellent training from Agri Evolve and we really appreciated it. They taught us how to improve our coffee. Explained why it was best for us not to process by drying our coffee on the ground and taught us what to look for to pick only ripe cherries"

Kule Kiyonga

Coffee Farmer, Rwenzori Mountains

Kule like many farmers across the Rwenzori’s had learnt from his father how to farm and process coffee in the traditional ‘Rwenzori way’ and has passed on his knowledge to his children. These methods had been handed down for many generations and although proven, they are not the most effective given modern-day practices and processing. 

 

Through the demonstration farm, Agri Evolve educated Kule and Mary in how to effectively structure their farm so that they can ensure the most suitable conditions for growing coffee trees. Education in practises such as pruning and stumping plants to maximise yield as well as teaching them the importance of harvesting cherries only when they are ripe. 

 

Kule and Mary are both in their sixties now and have eight grown-up children. After spending the majority of their working-life providing for their children with schooling paid for through the income from their family farm. Their children repaid them by building and gifting the house you can see in the photos. They now put all their efforts into supporting their grandchildren and wanted to maximise earnings from their harvests. 

 

The changes that Kule and Mary implemented to their farm resulted in their best harvest to date with a crop of 320 kgs. This harvest alone is enough to provide a terms education for all of their grandchildren. 

 

With the overwhelming success of their growth in production thanks to the support of Agri Evolve. We have now taken the responsibility to ensure that the story is told for the farmers of the Rwenzori and ensure that they get the best possible return on their coffee for years to come. We can now show farmers such as Kule and Mary exactly where their coffee ends up through transparent partnerships with roasters. 

 

In recent trips, we have taken back packaging from roasters to share with families giving them a full understanding of where the fruits of their labour end up and the importance of effective farming methods. 

 

This collaborative approach to farming and education leads to an increase in farmers passion to invest back into production and ultimately increase the quality of Rwenzori coffee.

Mary Kiyonga

Coffee Farmer, Rwenzori Mountains

“Next season we hope to improve our coffee with pesticides, so the coffee does not die of diseases. We also seek some tools to make tranches.” 

This approach to education is empowering farmers to produce the best cherries knowing that the long term benefits are waiting for them.

Through our partnership with Agri Evolve, we have educated thousands of farmers across the Rwenzoris and made it possible in 5-short-years to change the reputation of an origin.

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