Coffee is one of the most valuable commodities in world trade, surpassed only by oil. Ninety-seven percent of Uganda’s coffee is produced by 500,000 rural families in small plots, interspersed with other crops for household consumption.
Since 2008, Oxfam Intermón purchases green coffee under fair trade conditions from the Ugandan producer group, the Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperatives Union (ACPCU).
ACPCU is an organization that brings together ten small coffee-producing cooperatives in the Bushenyi and Ntugamo districts, in the Southwestern region of the country. They are formed by 4,300 male and female farm workers in the Ankole region; 28 percent are women.
From our hands-on work with this cooperative and fruit of various research activities funded by the EU, we were able to conclude that, among other things:
- ACPCU farm workers receive up to three times more than farmers in the same area who sell their products in conventional markets.
- Income from the sale of coffee is the only source of income for producer families in Uganda and it is invested primarily in education and healthcare for their families.
- The Social Premium that Oxfam Intermón pays to cooperatives allows improvements to be made to community infrastructures, such as schools, roads, access ways and community centers.
- Producers who are members of fair trade cooperatives actively participate in the cooperative’s decision-making processes, receiving training and forging closer ties with other producers, while reinforcing their position in the community.
- The increased income and training obtained through fair trade reduces the vulnerability of producers and helps them deal with external shocks, such as coffee pests and diseases, conditions that affect families, and especially with falls in coffee prices on the world market. Producers selling in conventional markets are much more vulnerable and in crisis situations their livelihood is seriously affected; they must take their children out of school as they do not have the money to pay for it and they may be unable to meet basic expenses, such as the cost of medicine or products such as sugar, salt or rice.
When you consume this coffee, it is easy to sleep peacefully because you know that with this simple gesture you contribute to supporting small farmers, such as those in Ankole.
Thanks to the agreement with the Día Group, starting a few months ago Ankole coffee and other Fair Trade products are available to more people at: http://www.dia.es/compra-online/comercio-justo
Oxfam Intermón is an NGO that fights against poverty and inequality around the world. Fair Trade is one of the main lines of our work. We are the leading name in this market in Spain and have been working for over 15 years with Spanish distribution companies to make Fair Trade an option that is increasingly closer to consumers.
Oxfam Intermón acquires products directly from over 100 producer groups worldwide, without intermediaries, promoting respect for the environment and avoiding such harmful practices as child labor.
Francisco Juan Pitarch, sales manager Fair Trade Oxfam Intermón