Supporting smallholder farmers is central to our business and to the world. Smallholder farmers make a vital contribution to meeting the food demands of the world’s growing population – and in doing so achieve UN Global Goal 2 – Zero hunger. They continue to be a crucial part of our supply chain, helping us achieve our market demands more sustainably.
We work directly with around 5,000 smallholders, but the middlemen/local traders/suppliers we buy from connect us to many more. This connection to around 10,000 SHF in rural areas is an important way for us to increase our positive social impact. Three out of four low-income people depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. Often, they are cut off from access to training and education and lack knowledge of the techniques that would help them maximize their incomes.
Helping smallholders to increase their yields, can increase their income, helps us secure a local, competitive and sustainable supply of coffee for our factory and for the export markets, and provides a channel to enhance their livelihoods in other ways, including empowering women.
Agriculture is at the heart of addressing poverty in Africa and central to boosting its prosperity. It is important to the future of Africa and indeed to the world. But much more than in any other region, agriculture is a major driver of African economies, typically representing 30-40% of GDP and 65-70% of labor force. Agriculture will remain the dominant sector for many years in most African countries. And, in Uganda’s case of all agricultural commodities, coffee has been the major foreign exchange earner helping the country to meet its development needs. In the coffee year 2016/2017 about 4.6million bags of 60kg were exported fetching a net value of more than $500,000,000.
However, agriculture in Africa is by and large, a business of smallholder farmers. Africa’s agricultural transformation will be a complex or impossible without transforming the lives and practices of smallholder farmers. In short, Africa’s agricultural transformation will need smallholders to succeed. That’s why, transforming smallholder farmers is central to our business.