Meet Our Farmers

MaryMary 29

Born: 1985
Family: Lives with her husband and 5 children
Land: 1 acre
Crops: Coffee and beans
Co-op: Kaku Women’s
Location: Kabango Twanzani

Mary, like many of Bukonzo Joint’s coffee farmers started by joining a Village Savings and Loans group to help her manage her money. She then began selling coffee to Bukonzo Joint. She has been growing coffee for 9 years. Mary’s main challenge was the high level of sun exposure on her land. Through her participation in Bukonzo Joint’s organic farming classes Mary learned how to improve the quality of her coffee through shade trees. She is one of the many farmers who has participated in Bukonzo Joint’s climate change initiative with to access to free shade trees for her land.

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YulidaYulida

Born: 1982
Family: Lives with her 4 children
Land: ½ acre
Crops: Coffee, beans and casava
Co-op: Bwethe
Location: Musasa

Yulida has grown coffee for 5 years. She is proud that she owns her farmland. She is honest when asked why she started growing coffee. “ I needed the cash,” she says. “It is hard because my husband doesn’t help.” Yulida like many of Bukonzo Joint’s members is committed to her children’s education. “I only attended up to P1 (around 6 years). My children attending school are now P2, P3 and P5.” She is excited her children have now surpassed her own education level. She saves monthly in her Village Savings and Loans group. She currently rents a house and is saving to build a house with more farmland for her and her children.

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JonasJonas

Born: 1984
Family: Lives with her husband and 4 children
Land: 1 acre
Crops: Coffee and beans
Co-op: St. Gabriel
Location: Milhandu

Jonas used to grow cassava but transitioned to coffee to make a better living for her and her family. She is proud her coffee was certified organic in 2011. Jonas is a busy entrepreneur. She helps sort coffee for Bukonzo Joint, she grows coffee and she also has a small business of selling cooking oil to subsidize her income. When asked what her future goal is she answers without a pause. “University. I want my children to go to University.”

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FeliziaFelizia

Born: 1963
Family: Lives with her husband and 6 children
Land: 6 acres
Crops: Coffee, cassava, beans, peanuts, potatoes, bananas
Co-op: Bwimanero
Location: Nakeya 1

Felizia owns over 1 million shares in Bukonzo Joint Co-operative Union. Both her and her husband’s grandparents and parents grew coffee in the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains. She has been growing coffee for 26 years and been part of the same Village Savings and Loans group for 20 years. She is the group’s oldest savings member. She helps encourage new members to save for their family’s future as she has successfully done. She is a role model among her peers. Felizia stopped attending school at the age of 7 because her family could not afford the school fees. She is proud her eldest son graduated from University this year.

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NyesiNyesi

Born: 1984
Family: Lives with her husband and 5 children
Land: 2 acres
Crops: Coffee, beans and maize
Co-op: Khitoma Women’s
Location: Nyakaya 1

Nyesi has grown coffee for 8 years. She passed her organic certification in 2011. In 2013, despite the floods, she is happy with her profits from her coffee farm. She saves weekly with her Village Savings and Loans groups to help pool together money for school fees. Her long-term goal is to build a better house made out of bricks.

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SaturdaySaturday

Born: 1976
Family: Lives with her husband and 6 children
Land: 1 acres
Crops: Coffee and maize
Co-op: St. Gabriel
Location: Kihungu

Saturday has grown coffee for the past 3 years. Her husband and her work together on their 1-acre farm.  Saturday used to have to walk over an hour to deliver coffee to Bukonzo Joint. Thanks to the new Bwimaniro washing station she has a shorter distance to travel. She processes her coffee at the washing station with her other co-op members. Bukonzo Joint sends a truck to pick up everyone’s coffee from the washing station. She currently saves the money she earns from her coffee sales weekly in her Village Savings and Loans group.

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MaryMary

Born: 1966
Land: 4 ½ acres
Crops: Coffee, cassava and beans
Co-op: Kasungu Displaced
Location: Buhungu

Mary lives with her husband and 10 children. She has grown coffee the past 30 years. Her co-op group started with a group of women who were displaced by ADF rebel activity along the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has attended the weekly savings group with Kasungu Displaced for over 10 years. Mary experienced challenges in May 2013 when flooding washed away many of her crops and she lost part of her land with the receding riverbanks. Despite these challenges, Mary had a good coffee harvest the following season with 813 kilograms.

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YoniaYonia

Age: 1953
Family: Lives with her 3 daughters
Land: 2 acres
Crops: Coffee, beans, cassava and peanuts
Co-op: Bwimanero
Location: Nakeya 1

Yonia began growing coffee 8 years ago as a way to pay for school fees for her children. Yonia stopped attending school at the age of 10. Yonia’s commitment to her daughter’s education has paid off. She is proud that her daughter Medress is currently the accountant at Bukonzo Joint.

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Katwamarko<Katwamarke

Born: 1963
Family: Lives with her husband and 5 children
Land: 1 ½ acres
Crops: Coffee, cassava, banana, avocado and beans
Co-op: Kabingo Twanzani
Location: Kabingo

Katwamarko has grown coffee the past 33 years. She is a proud shareholder of Bukonzo Joint with 480,000 UGX in shares. “I purchased my shares because I want to help make organizational decisions” stated Katwamarko. She comes from a long lineage of coffee growers. Her great-grandparents grew coffee near Kilembe over a 100 years ago. Katwamarko never had the opportunity to attend school. She attends her Village Savings and Loans group every Thursday with her co-operative to help save for her children’s school fees. She also has great dreams for her family. She declared, ”Education is first but after that I want to build a brick house.”