Bukonzo Joint is a co-operative union owned by its members — 83 percent women — who currently operate 5,500 small farms in the Rwenzori Mountains region of western Uganda, where they raise high-quality, organically grown, hand-picked coffee.
Bukonzo Joint is headquartered in Kyarumba town, Kasese district. Its operations in Bukonzo county’s sub-counties of Kyarumba, Kyondo, Kisinga, Lake Katwe, Maliba and Mahango, include marketing its farmers’ organic coffee; micro-finance, such as providing agriculture and small business loans to members; and member training and skills development. In addition to its more than 5,500 farmers, Bukonzo Joint has a full-time staff of 29, over 140 part-time volunteers, and fourteen training officers.
Bukonzo Joint was founded in 1999 to serve the poor, isolated farming communities in Bukonzo county, which, due to war, poverty, and location, have been marginalized in the past. The central focus of the Co-operative’s operations is offering sustainable financial and capacity building services to the economically disadvantaged. Bukonzo Joint is committed to improving the living standards of the rural poor, and ensuring that they are active participants in the economic, social, and political development of Bukonzo county. From its original 11 member groups, the Co-operative has grown to 72 groups.
Bukonzo Joint’s activities are funded by its members, by its micro-finance revenues, and by organizations that support the Co-operative’s training and business development efforts.