Bukonzo farmers

Bukonzo Farmers, café, Uganda

La Unión Cooperativa Bukonzo Organic Farmers inició como un grupo de 6 agricultores de café orgánico que deseaban difundir su mensaje de  conciencia ambiental. Basada en la ciudad de Kasese en el oeste de Uganda, el principal problema que enfrentaban era el retorno financiero de sus cultivos.

Los agricultores no eran capaces de obtener un buen precio para este producto intensivo en mano de obra. El acceso al mercado del comercio justo ha permitido a Bukonzo superar este problema, mientras que el número de socios aumentó de 500 a más de 2,000 agricultores.

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Kabugho Jostina, Gerente General, afirmó:

“El préstamo de Shared Interest nos ha permitido duplicar nuestras ventas de café y pagar oportunamente a los socios. Estos mayores ingresos les han permitido educar a sus hijos.”

Cultivando el futuro

La cooperativa ha tenido un impacto enorme en la comunidad, particularmente en la vida de las mujeres dado que ellas se están involucrando más en la producción de café. Considerado un “cultivo masculino”, Bukonzo es una de las pocas cooperativas cafetaleras en África que es manejada por mujeres.

El futuro de Bukonzo luce prometedor. Están implementando un plan para los próximos 3 años que contempla incrementar el número de miembros a 2,400 agricultores, la modernización de su planta trilladora de café, la construcción de 23 pequeñas estaciones de lavado y la implementación de su planta de clasificación de café (proceso que es actualmente tercerizado)

Bukonzo utiliza el préstamo de Shared Interest para dar adelantos a los agricultores. Este año ellos planean implementar su planta de tostado de café para empezar a vender café tostado al mercado local.

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The impact of Covid-19

Bukonzo was one of the first producer groups to supplement government supplies using their Fairtrade Premium. In response to the pandemic, they have donated sugar, maize flour, cooking oil, beans and soap to the local government taskforce.

Tragically, since hearing of Bukonzo’s efforts in helping the local community, we received news that they were facing life-threatening weather conditions due to heavy rainfall, which has caused severe flooding to the Kasese District. 

Josinta told us: “Following heavy rains from the Rwenzori Mountains, five rivers simultaneously burst their banks at around 2am on 7th May. We believe that 1,200 Bukonzo farmers have been affected in Kisinga, Kyondo, Kyarumba, and Maliba. 

“The situation of the displaced in these areas is serious, many homes are concentrated villages which are in the low lands and along the river basins - they are now completely flooded. The Kasese District Disaster Team is reported to have registered over 35,000 displaced families, with some sleeping in the open air. 

“Families reported that the floods were seen at night, which was very threatening to them and most of the properties were swept away. They had nowhere to run, since they could not tell the direction of the water. “The piped water to some communities is blocked and now people do not have access to drinking water so they are made to move long distances to search for clean water. “The farmers lost coffee and also food crop fields, therefore, food packs will be a high need and materials for shelter.”

Following this Bukonzo became the first beneficiary of our charitable arm, Shared Interest Foundation's Livelihood Security Fund


There is growing global evidence of women owning or co-owning their farms and managing their own land. This is good news as research indicates that unequal ownership affects women’s ability to access, use, control, and benefit from land, thereby limiting their economic empowerment and financial security. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that closing the gender gap in agriculture would reduce the number of undernourished people by up to 150 million. 

As Josinta Kabugho, General Manager at BOCU (Bukonzo Organic Farmers Cooperative Union) says: “Gender equality is important because there is equal access to resources, which promotes empowerment.”

Josinta describes her role as being responsible for overseeing all of the day-to-day activities. She explained: “I have not had challenges but opportunities as being a woman leader; partners have been motivated to partner with BOCU because of the trust that women have. I have seen myself being confident in doing co-operative activities and the members have built trust in me.”

Josinta explained that the co-operative takes a family-led approach to safeguarding farming for the next generation. She said: “We are proud to make sustainability the focus for all of our activities and there is an abundance of life and diversity to be found on our farms.

“We have initiated savings and lending associations for men, women and youth, energy saving stoves for households, water harvesting tanks benefiting the households and trainings also are targeted to men, women and youth.”

We asked Josinta what she would say to young women who want to work in the coffee sector. She replied: “I would
encourage the young women to work in the coffee industry for sustainability because most of the people involved are becoming old and if they are not replaced by the younger generation then the coffee industry would be at a stake in the future.

“I would also encourage them to take leadership positions so that the women can also come up as successful leaders.”

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Interested in supporting Bukonzo by directly purchasing their product? From the slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains, Coffee Buzz bring you the premium, Fair Trade and Certified Organic coffee produced by Bukonzo members. 

The coffee arrives in whole bean, coarse, medium or fine grinds and carries a rich caramel finish with notes of red cherry, making for the perfect espresso. Click the button below to purchase this unique, world class coffee from Uganda.

Purchase Bukonzo Coffee
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