The Swedish ambassador to Uganda, Amb. Maria Håkansson recently visited the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises Ltd (NUCAFE). As one of our partners under the Innovative Finance for Improved Livelihood (IFIL) project in Uganda, the ambassador’s visit aimed to follow up on the Swedish funding provided to NUCAFE for greening climate-smart farming initiatives and eco-friendly coffee production in Uganda.
During the visit, the Swedish ambassador reassured the smallholder farmers of Sweden’s commitment to sustainable livelihoods. She called for consumers to collaborate with smallholder coffee producers to ensure both quality and quantity in production.
Paul Gumisiriza, We Effect’s Program Officer, was present during the visit and highlighted the status, focus, and impact of We Effect’s IFIL project in Uganda. The IFIL project, initiated by Sweden, brings innovative financing to NUCAFE’s sustainability-driven business model, addressing a long-awaited need for appropriate financing.
It serves as the Farmer Ownership Model (FOM), which sustainably connects and uplifts smallholder farmers in the coffee value chain to the global market.
Through NUCAFE, farmers are directly connected to international buyers, primarily coffee roasters in Europe. These socially responsible European coffee buyers pay farmers extra real-time efficient payments for quality and socially premium products. This ensures better livelihoods for the farmers, as they receive immediate payment upon delivering coffee, facilitated by the US$3 million provided through the IFIL project.
IFIL acts as an extraordinary bridge to sustain social, environmental, and economic impacts for smallholder coffee farmers in Uganda. This empowering initiative helps farmers secure their livelihoods and thrive in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the IFIL project, farmers gain access to specialty eco-friendly markets, increasing their income from graded green coffee by at least 250%.
Joseph Nkandu, CEO of NUCAFE, expressed that the visit of the Swedish Ambassador, Maria Håkansson, to NUCAFE holds symbolic significance. It recognizes the successful and impactful collaborative projects established by various Swedish organizations and partners over the long term.
He also added, “The IFIL project, managed by We Effect, has helped improve the turnaround time for immediately paying farmers as they deliver coffee for further processing and export.
NUCAFE, founded in 2003, is a hybrid National Coffee Farmers’ Organization that serves and positions farmers well in the liberalized global coffee market. It has evolved as a vibrant private sector-led social entrepreneurial farmer organization. NUCAFE relentlessly empowers and organizes smallholder coffee farmers using the Farmer Ownership Model, enabling them to assume more roles and functions within the value chain for sustainable livelihoods, consumer satisfaction, and societal transformation.
It has achieved significant milestones by offering exceptionally high-quality coffee to high-end market off-takers and by elevating resource-constrained smallholder farmers into profitable nodes of the coffee industry.
From its humble beginnings, NUCAFE is contributing to the systemic transformation of farmer empowerment in the coffee value chain, in line with its vision of “Coffee farmers profitably own their coffee along the coffee value chain for sustainable livelihoods, consumer satisfaction, and societal transformation.”
Today, NUCAFE serves and impacts over 250,120 farming households, comprising more than 1,512,210 farmers organized into 200 associations and cooperatives nationwide.
With the establishment of the CAFÉ (Centre for Agribusinesses and Farmer Entrepreneurship) facility, coffee farmers are gradually being empowered and dignified, as they can add value to coffee and achieve over 250% returns on investment per kilogram of graded coffee, compared to when they were operating without NUCAFE’s intervention.