Coffee farmers in Elgon region go Organic

In Summary
  • Elgon coffee farmers go organic for better prices.
  • MEACCE, aided by USAID, obtains Fair Trade and Organic Certifications.
  • US Ambassador Popp applauds shift to organic, citing market demand.
Coffee beans ready for drying
Image: Bright Baba

Coffee farmers in the Elgon region have embraced organic farming a bid to fetch high premium prices.

This kind of farming calls for no use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and in return one gets highest quality and best-tasting coffee beans.

During a recent visit to Mt. Elgon Agro forestry Communities Cooperative Enterprise (MEACCE) in Mbale city  by the  US Ambassador to Uganda H.E William Popp, the farmers exhibited the progress made.

The group of over 3000 farmers gets support through USAID funded business advisory and improved production management system.

According to Nimdrod Wambette, MEACCE chairman, through the USAID support they have been able to able to acquire Fair Trade and Organic Certification which ensures fairer terms of trade between farmers and buyers, protects workers' rights, as well as provide the framework for producers to build thriving farms and organizations.

"We did sign a contract with Fair Trade systems to produce coffee with zero trace of  chemical fertilizers  or pesticides", says Mr. Wambette.

We engage in trainings with the farmers on best farming practices which enrich the coffee and there  are several measures we have embarked.

After realizing that the spraying  does not only affect the coffee but also  kills vital nutrients in the soil we took the matter serious, he adds.

"As a group we support farmers with a cow shade mainly for milk and manure. The cow-dug is dried before being applied in the gardens, this manure is rich in nutrients and is suitable for plant growth", he adds

Nimrod Nambette, Chairman MEACCE
Image: Bright Baba

Ambassador Popp  commended the farmers for embracing homemade organic alternatives instead of artificial pesticides and fertilizers.

"There is Market demand for organic products especially on the export markets and you will fetch high premium prices because you are now growing coffee without the use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers.

Ambasodor William Popp receives ready for export coffee beansfrom one of the farmers
Image: Bright Baba

The farmers are supported Feed the Future Inclusive Agricultural markets Initiative which is funded  by USAID .

Colins Apwoyo, Chief of party says support the farmers to build their internal investment through business advisory services.

"Our dream though is to se that the organization can be given working Capital without being asked for collateral, or investors coming in to inject money because they see stability in it, Apwoyo  adds.


Colins Apwoyo, Chief of party Feed the Future Inclusive Agricultural markets Initiative
Image: Bright Baba