Later this year we will be celebrating 5 years of Agri Evolve’s involvement in the coffee sector in the Rwenzori Mountains of western Uganda. It was one of those chance meetings 5 years ago that put Jonny in touch with the Managing Director of Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd, a coffee exporting company that had been operating in Uganda for 20 years. However, their main area of operation was in the east of Uganda in the Mount Elgon area, the Rwenzoris are in the far west. ‘There is some good coffee in the Rwenzoris, and lots of potential for improvement’ was the gist of what Jonny was told, and with that Jonny set about developing the opportunities for the local coffee farmers.
Arabica coffee has been grown in Uganda for the best part of 100 years, the climate, rich soils, and ample rainfall make areas like the Rwenzoris perfect for the growing of a high quality crop. However, historically the coffee from the Rwenzoris had a poor reputation. Poor processing from harvest to export had meant that the inherent quality of the cherry on the bush has been lost. The challenge was to get the cherries harvested at the optimum time, processed to the highest of standards and then exported in a timely fashion to ensure optimal freshness. This is the mammoth task that Jonny took on, and with his growing team of Ugandan colleagues the whole coffee sector in the west of Uganda is today significantly better than 5 years ago.
Our new video captures just a little of our story so far, it shows the beautiful landscape that we are fortunate to operate in, the dedication and hard work of the staff as they train local farmers and the great optimism experienced by the local coffee farmers who can now see a bright future ahead for their families and the community. Farming for a better future.
Jonny Rowland is the MD of Agri Evolve Ltd, a Social Enterprise operating in Uganda to help farmers improve their income.