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Uganda: Improving gender relations in coffee farming households in Uganda
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Vietnam

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Farmer Story: Meet Jimmy Kalonga

The International Coffee Partners are strongly engaged in strengthening the position of smallholder coffee farmers in Tanzania. Jimmy Kalonga from Izumbwe Vilagge, Southwest Tanzania, was one of the first to join.

Jimmy Kalonga is a coffee farmer who lives in Mbeya rural, Igale ward. He is a member of Iwaka coffee group and has a wife and 6 children. Jimmy started farming in 1987 with 300 coffee trees, which gave him a very low yield of only 30-50 kg of green coffee, mainly because of poor farming practices. His coffee was attacked by diseases such as Coffee Leaf Rust and CBD, but he could not afford to buy inputs. At that time coffee farming was not considered a profitable business, partly due to the fact that the only cooperative union, which was run by the local government, was a highly bureaucratic structure, where the farmers had no say about the marketing of their coffee.

Despite all that Jimmy decided to expand his farm: he planted 400 new trees in 1992 and another 120 in 2000, but his yield would not exceed 120 kg of green coffee.

In 2007, after a sensitization meeting encouraged by the International Coffee Partners, Jimmy and his fellow farmers decided to form a producer organization, called Iwaka Coffee Group. They have undergone marketing trainings and learned about the different marketing channels. Jimmy’s producer organization is part of a bigger structure, a Depot Committee, which collects and sells its members coffee.

Jimmy explains: "In addition to gaining better access to the market through our Coffee Group, I was able to take up an input loan to reinvest into my farm - that would have been impossible as an individual!"

Through the project work, he could participate in trainings in good agricultural practices such as proper fertilizer and biocide application, pruning and regular field investigation. He is also doing rejuvenation and gap filling on his farm and currently has 692 productive trees, 120 filled gaps and 600 infant trees, which give him five times more yield than he used to get before. By improving his farming practices, Jimmy was able to produce 600 kg of green coffee. This has made him realize that with a certain amount of professionalism coffee farming can become a successful business and a way out of poverty.

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