BERRY | JUICY | SYRUPY
Producer: Members of Rwenzori Arabica Scheme Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd.
Region: Rwenzori, Western Uganda
Number of producers/growers: 2,000
Process: Natural, dried on raised beds
Varietal: SL28, SL 34, SL14 & Nyasaland
Flavour Notes: Blackberry, honey, cocoa
Best for: Filter coffee
The Rwenzori Mountains in the country’s West (bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo) are just one of many regions in the country ideally suited to the production of high-quality speciality coffee. The Rwenzori’s are famously known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’. They stretch for 120 kilometres along the Western Uganda border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The snow-capped peaks reach over 5,000 metres above sea level and support glaciers that are the start of many rivers flowing down the slopes (including one source of the Nile).
The area is home to the Bakonzo tribe who have formed the Bakonzo Farmers Group. The high altitude, fertile soils and plentiful rainfall provide perfect growing conditions for Arabica coffee. Coffee offers the Bakonzo farmers a stable income that allows them to support their families and develop their homes. The coffee is grown under the shade of banana trees, while the mixed farms also produce cassava, maize, beans and groundnuts for local consumption and additional income.
Bukonzo county is divided into many sub-counties including Kisinga, Kyondo, Kyarumba, Munkunyu, Mahango, Nyakatonzi and Isango. These towns provide ideal locations for coffee processing and are home to many farmer groups, primary processors and it is in one of these towns, Kisinga, where Kyagalanyi has located its first Coffee Station in the area. At this station, Kyagalanyi is focusing on high-quality speciality natural Arabica.
Most farmers have around 1 hectare of land, and all work on the farm is done by hand, usually by immediate family members. Families work together in groups, to process and market their coffee. This is known as ‘share farming’. It helps them to improve processing, better control quality and increases their marketing ability.
Kyagalanyi is one of the entities making it possible for smallholders to participate in speciality markets. Their Kisinga Coffee Station grants farmers a program that incorporates processing infrastructure with agricultural extension services. Kyagalanyi offers to help smallholder families make the most of their land. Improved farm management through these training schemes will make the trees more resilient to climate change and overall off-set any yield reductions due to changing weather patterns.