In 2010 Bukonzo Joint enrolled our farmers in a three-year-long organic certification program funded by Solidaridad, an NGO based in the Netherlands. We completed the program this year and now are proud to say that thousands of Bukonzo Joint farmers are triple certified — under US Fair Trade, USDA Organic and EU Organic rules.
The training our farmers received and are continuing to receive under these programs includes instruction in the best methods and techniques of organic farming for the continued improvement of their coffee’s already high quality, and a comprehensive course in the long-term benefits of sustainable agriculture. The resulting triple certifications gives Bukonzo Joint coffee a distinct competitive advantage in the international market for specialty coffee.
To assist our coffee producers in increasing their annual yields, Bukonzo Joint is assisting its members to master the use of organic manure. Over the last 10 years, coffee yields have reduced to less than 2kg of fresh cherry per plant, due to lack of proper, required nutrients in the soil because of erosion and the effects of climate change. Bukonzo Joint is currently implementing programs to train our farmers to make the appropriate compost manure which will have all the soil nutrients required. In addition, we are training farmer’s to improve water usage and prevent soil erosion. Our farmer’s receive access to training in the best methods and techniques of organic coffee farming to increase yields on existing land and increase farmer’s income. Trainings include:
- The proper application of organic pesticides
- Maximizing the benefit of mulching
- The best pruning techniques for coffee trees
- Proper harvesting methods
- Access to support, consultation, and advice from fellow farmers as well as the staff and expert trainers associated with Bukonzo Joint.
THE COFFEE VALUE CHAIN STARTS AT THE NURSERY
Bukonzo Joint is committed to improving productivity, the quality of the coffee and its grade, and increase production – to ensure high incomes for our coffee farmers. This will in turn improve their standard of living and the community at large.
In 2012, with the support of Hima Cement Bukonzo Joint began managing coffee nursery beds in Bukonzo County in the Western Kasese District to ensure quality coffee to its members. In addition, Bukonzo Joint supports our farmers in planting and maintaining coffee shade trees which have been destroyed over the last 10 years.
Through this initiative Bukonzo Joint is working with Hima Cement to distribute new seedlings to farmers. Farmers receive improved quality seedlings which will grow faster, then give improved yield. This results in good quality coffee that in turn leads to high levels of production, which gives farmers increased income.