Gumutindo coffee co-operative was formed to improve the livelihoods of its farmers, who rely on coffee for their main income.
About Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative Enterprises Ltd
Gumutindo – which means ‘excellent quality’ – was Fairtrade certified in 2004 and has grown to 10 village co-operatives with over 6,000 members and now sells over 90 per cent of its high quality organic Arabica coffee to Fairtrade buyers. A study for the UK government found that farmers in Gumutindo’s supply chain received a number of benefits, including training to improve coffee quality, assistance to convert to organic production, access to transparent market information, exposure to new market opportunities and greater involvement in the company’s operation which enhanced mutual trust and commitment. The Fairtrade Premium has helped build coffee warehouses, contributes to community projects such as building a secondary school, extending a clinic, protecting natural water sources, constructing and repairing feeder roads, and has provided working capital to reduce the need for expensive loans.
Liberalisation of the Ugandan coffee sector in the 1990s led to the collapse of the traditional co-operative unions, exposed by their lack of commercial expertise in the new competitive environment. A proliferation of private traders entered the market, forcing down the quality and reputation of Ugandan coffee as well as prices paid to farmers.