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U.S. helps Uganda coffee farmers reach world market



by Joseph Earnest April 10, 2013  

Newscast Media KAMPALA, UgandaIn the heart of the Rwenzori "Mountain of the Moon" valley in Western Uganda, rural coffee farmers now export organic, fair-trade-certified Arabica coffee overseas, thanks to a grant from the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF).

USADF, established by the U.S. Congress in 1980, is a public sector corporation that supports African-designed and African-driven solutions to grass-roots economic problems on the continent.

In 2011, USADF awarded the Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Society an expansion grant to guarantee that local premium coffee from 3,500 producer members reached international markets. USADF grant funds paid for construction of a 200-ton capacity storage facility, installation of motorized coffee processing pulpers and purchase of a 25-ton truck to ship coffee to markets in Kampala.

USADF's expansion grant is providing credible, tangible results, the foundation said in an April 10 news release. In less than two years, Bukonzo secured contracts to export coffee to Japan and the United States. More than 125,000 pounds (5,700 kilograms) of coffee have been exported overseas since 2011.

Now, the cooperative is an award-winning coffee exporter. Last year, Bukonzo earned second place in Uganda's Taste of Harvest Coffee Competition and was awarded a certificate of achievement from the African Fine Coffees Association.


Beyond the investments made in the cooperative, Bukonzo used some of its profits to improve the local quality of life for women in Kasese District, home to some of the highest maternal mortality rates in Uganda. Now, local women have access to maternal health care provided by the Bukonzo-constructed women’s inpatient clinic.

Bukonzo is also charting an impressive path in improving gender relations through its Women’s Empowerment Mainstreaming and Networking (WEMAN) and Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS) programs. Both initiatives strive to address the lack of women’s full participation in decisionmaking and financial planning.

Bukonzo's commitment to gender equality is evident: 85 percent of Bukonzo’s 3,500 members are women.


Bukonzo Coffee is part USADF's activities under the Feed the Future program, the U.S. government's global hunger and food security initiative that addresses the root causes of hunger and poverty.

In Uganda, USADF's $5.4 million portfolio of 30 grants is focused on improving food security among marginalized populations by investing in agriculture, agro-processing and other livelihood activities.   Add Comments>>

Source: State Department










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