Over 90% of coffee production takes place in developing countries in the Global South, and this solution has the potential to impact millions of marginalized and impoverished coffee farmers given that the global coffee industry is worth over $100 billion annually. Smallholder coffee farmers (SHCFs) in Uganda, who produce over 80% of the coffee, live in extreme poverty, operate under marginal conditions, lack ownership of primary processing facilities, and thus are left out of trade opportunities and subsequently forced to sell their coffee cherries.
This intervention seeks to reach 10,000 of the 1.7 million Ugandan SHCFs in the first year of implementation and their households, totaling approximately 40,000 persons. Beyond Uganda, this model has the potential to scale to other parts of coffee growing communities in East and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as coffee producing countries beyond the region.
Our innovation is a local, low cost, and scalable model to collectively and inclusively involve SHCFs in the coffee value chain and remove barriers to market access. The scalable micro-washing station model is a greenhouse structure with raised drying beds and a motorized coffee pulper that enables organized SHCFs to engage in primary processing. A network of farmer-owned MWS will be setup and rapidly scaled during the life of the project, enabling SHCFs to process and sell their coffee for a higher value. By owning parts of the value-chain, SHCFs will have gained new skills, a competitive advantage, and be more competitive in trade opportunities.
Expanding the role of SHCFs in the value chain, will not be possible without the full and equitable participation of youth and women, and our model champions the inclusion and empowerment of youth and women. Through the MWS model, SHCFs will be empowered to produce the needed volumes and qualities for international premium and specialty buyers, and be more integrated with the global market economy. By enabling SHCFs to take responsibility for value addition, this innovation will achieve increased earnings for SHCFs, foster additional employment opportunities, lift SHCFs out of poverty and have a transformative impact on rural population.