- Kebisoni, Western Uganda
Kebisoni Coffee Farmers Cooperative, located in the Rukungiri District of Western Uganda, is predominantly an agricultural community. Though a richly fertile land the population survives primarily on subsistence farming of crops of plantain, beans, peanuts, and fruit, as their biggest source of food. To provide for all other needs (education, health, housing) the community relies on a small often unrealized income from coffee. Commercial Coffee production has the propensity to raise the economic stature of entire communities. Business development focused on improving yields and increasing market access will dramatically improve outcomes for individual families as well the entire community of Kebisoni.
Coffee is a dynamic crop. It holds enormous economic potential for entire communities. Like many coffee cooperatives around the world that have dramatically impacted poverty, the challenge is not only to produce a quality coffee product but to gain access to the specialty markets that pay a fair price to the farmers. The farmers of Kebisoni have formed such a cooperative.
Trees and Bicycles. Pilot Light provides the 500 members of the cooperative with the funds necessary for each farmer to have at least 200 trees, and because most farms are located deep in the villages the loans also provide funding for bicycles. The bicycles allow the farmers to transport their own beans saving transportation charges and exorbitant middlemen costs during harvest.
Community Built Upon a Common Goal. This diverse cooperative builds community as it builds prosperity. In June 2014 the cooperative opened it’s own coffee processing plant, allowing the farmers to hull and grade their own beans. The future plans are that a coffee roaster/processor will be added. We are currently working toward Fair Trade certification.
Economic Stability. Cash crops provide economic stability where subsistence farming cannot. Coffee provides such a cash crop.
Community Unity. Cooperative farming builds interdependent communities. Shared goals community wide prosperity.
Health and Education. Parents can afford to feed their families and keep their children in school.
Sustainable Future. Best farming practices ensure renewable resources through conscientious preservation of water and environment..
Business Acumen. Business skills and familiarity with strategic use savings and loans strengthen communities and encourage increased economic mobility.
Fair Trade Certification. This creates market access and ensures that farmers can get a fair price for their crops.