The Cup That Counts - Uganda Series - Part Three


The first requirement of the coffee project was to raise enough funds through The Cup That Counts to purchase a suitable demonstration farm on Mt Elgon. Zukuka Bora Coffee were lucky enough to discover a small, one hectare sized plot of land on the highest ridge of the Wanale region. Land is traditionally passed from father to son so the opportunity to purchase land in prime coffee growing terrain was incredibly rare and exciting. It didn't take too long before the coffee consumers of Mornington had drunk enough Commonfolk coffee to raise the $10,000 USD required for the purchase, and the plot of land was bought in early 2014. 

Seedlings of Uganda’s endemic arabica varietal SL14 were planted using proper horticultural spacing and irrigation. The local coffee farmers developed a keen interest in the demonstration farm and the techniques being used because it reminded them of the way things had been done in the 70’s, the heyday for Ugandan coffee. 

In 2015, over 1,500 local farmers signed up for training and were provided with SL14 seedlings and guidance on proper fertilisation, propagation, pruning, disease mitigation, and picking. A second, already established, coffee farm was purchased lower down the mountain and the construction of a wet mill at the first site got underway. Raised drying racks were designed and built and shade covers for drying were built at both sites. By the end of 2015, almost $50,000 USD had been raised for through The Cup That Counts and had helped purchase vehicles, processing equipment, and vital infrastructure. Moving into 2016, Zukuka Bora was in a position to commercially produce its first harvest of coffee. The local farmers had been guaranteed the highest price in Uganda for only their finest coffee cherries and the processing plant and drying stations were ready to go. 

To be continued here.

Thomas Terlaak