Karagwe District Cooperative Union Ltd (KDCU) is an organisation of small scale coffee growers located in the Karagwe District of northwest Tanzania.
The organisation is made up of 76 primary organisations, with a total of 20,000 individual members, of which 16,000 are men and 4,000 are women. KDCU is working to increase female participation and membership, this is an important step as it is the women who do much of the work on coffee farms in the region.
The KDCU head office is in Kayanga, the regional capital. KDCU started with 50 primary societies and covers an area of 7,716km2, most of the Karagwe District. The people in the area are mainly from the Wanyambo tribe but there are a small number of Wahaya, Wachiga, Wanyarwanda and Wahimba people. Their staple foods are banana (matoke), beans, yams and maize.
The KDCU organisation structure comprises of the AGM which is the main decision-making body. KDCU has an Employment committee, Finance and Planning committee, and a Tender committee. All the committees are made of KDCU board members.
In the 2012/2013 harvest, KDCU members produced 4,397,640kg of coffee, of which 949,200kg were Fairtrade certified.
Benefits of Fairtrade
Through Fairtrade, members have improved their lives socially through projects such as improvement of health centres and improvement of roads within their communities. KDCU has also been able to improve facilities in the secondary school which is used by students from the region. Through the Fairtrade Premium, members are able to construct coffee stores or carry out developments within their primary societies.
KDCU has also used premium funds to start several other projects:
- Quality Improvements – through planting coffee seedlings and providing insurance for famers. They have also purchased a gravity table which mechanically sorts coffee beans and ensures better quality of coffee by minimising contamination by human touch.
- Improved efficiency – Training programmes covering coffee husbandry, administration and accounting, first aid and how to improve quality.
- Reforestation – A tree planting project (30 acres of reforestation and sustainable production of timber for building materials) to provide timber for the community, costs included purchase of pine seedlings, labour for planting and maintenance of the tree farm.
- Water conservation – Construction of three 2,000 litre rainwater collection tanks (indestructible ferro-cement tanks) to collect rainwater from Kamahungu Factory roof.
- Membership registration – Issuing member identification cards which assist in determining actual members of the KDCU during coffee purchase at the primary cooperatives.