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MWIKA MILLS PROJECT

by Dylan Hewitt |

THE RELATIONSHIP:

First Crop Coffee has been buying coffee from the Mwika Co-op on Mount Kilimanjaro since 2015. We had our first visit to the co-op in 2016 and love that they’re achieving great quality and also providing high payment for coffee to all the members. When we first visited they’d just completed the loading tank and storage room for the pulper, but hadn’t yet constructed the channels and fermentation tanks. The manager was confident they would have the pulper operational by 2019. Unfortunately, when we visited in 2019, this wasn’t the case. The cost to get the project finished was too much, and the co-op was struggling to bring in new members without the pulper, while losing members who were selling their parchment to coyotes.

PURPOSE:

To provide funding to complete the washing station at the co-operative office on Mount Kilimanjaro, so members can deliver their cherry for washing.

Currently the members deliver parchment, which makes quality control difficult and is more work for the farmers.  The washing station will increase the quality and also provide jobs for members of the co-op who will do the processing and drying.  It will also bring members back to the co-op who have either stopped farming coffee or are selling it at a loss to coyotes in the region.

BACKGROUND:

In 2014 the Mwika Co-op was given a pulping machine by the Tanzanian Coffee Board to encourage farmers to bring their cherry to Mwika. By doing so, farmers in the region can bulk all their coffee together, have it processed at a higher quality and then achieve a better per kilo price due to the volume and quality. Unfortunately, to install the equipment, finish the washing station and build the drying beds would cost an additional US$20,000.00, which the co-operative and farmers did not have. So the equipment has been sitting in a locked room for 5 years unused. The co-op has built water channels, fermentation tanks and a loading tank so far, but it will take them another 5 years to come up with the money to complete the washing station. We’d like to help out and get the station finished earlier than that.

WHAT DOES YOUR DONATION DO:

All donations go directly towards getting the washing station operational for next season. This includes the following:

Purchasing a generator to run the pulper

Constructing additional water channels from the washing station to the fermentation tanks

Building raised drying tables

WHY SHOULD I DONATE:

The coffee industry is in a crisis, the market price for coffee is at an all time low, meaning most producers are getting paid below the cost of production for their coffee. Growing coffee is extremely hard and undervalued work, First Crop Coffee is dedicated to working directly with farmers, co-ops and estates to ensure coffee producers are paid more than a fair wage for their coffee and to help grow and sustain the communities. Our clients in Australia are coffee roasters who want to be connected to farmers and support them by working with an importer that fosters strong business partnerships that are beneficial for all links in the chain. By supporting this fund, you will help us to invest into this community on Mt Kiliminjaro that needs our help to make coffee growing sustainable and lucrative for the families that rely on coffee for an income. This washing station will give more families access to a co-op that can help them increase the value of their coffee and therefore their income.

First Crop Coffee is committed to continue buying the coffee from Mwika, and the roasters who support us will continue to purchase and roast this coffee, making it available to you!

WHO IS PUTTING THIS TOGETHER:

First Crop Coffee; the importer of the coffee

Wide Open Road; roasters and buyers of Mwika

DC Coffee; roasters and buyers of Mwika

Inglewood Coffee; roasters and buyers of Mwika