6,000 Farmers Benefit from Starbucks’ Sigi Falls Ugandan Coffee


Around 6,000 coffee farmers in Uganda could benefit as Kawacom, a leading export company in the country, has started working with Starbucks in a bid to sell and promote Ugandan-sourced coffee.

The initiative, which started back in May, sees Kawacom supply the coffee used in Starbucks’ Sipi Falls single origin, which forms part of their exclusive Reserve Range of fresh coffee beans.

Described as being “clean, smooth and mild…with a sweet finish,” the Sipi Falls coffee features a signature lemony acidity, creamy mouth feel and noticeable caramel accents, according to the accompanying blurb.

Thomas Delbar, Kawacom’s commercial manager, over 19 tons of beans have been shipped across the Atlantic so far.

“Our arrangement was made in one of Starbucks’ special [programmes] which deals with speciality coffee,” Delbar told the Daily Monitor earlier this month.

“Judging from the responses, we have a good reason to believe the future is bright,” he added.

At the moment Kawacom is working closely with around 6,000 smallholder farmers, each of which receives a premium that’s 30% above market value for their coffee.

Despite this being what seems to be a positive relationship, the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) have been somewhat cautious in their responses. Preaching restraint, Joseph Nkandu, NUCAFE’s said that “this is something which has just started and we are yet to see its [full] impact on the farmers.”

Nkadnu also stated that the benefits of this deal would be amplified if Starbucks dealt with the farmers directly, rather than purchasing their beans through intermediaries.

Others however, talked about the positive aspects of the deal and its place in a wider trend that has seen more speciality stockists buy coffee from Uganda.

“We do think it’s great that Uganda washed Arabica is being favoured more and more by consumers around the world,” said David Barry, the managing director of Kyagalanyi Coffee, a fellow coffee exporting company..

“Everyone involved in improving and paying attention to quality is doing a great service to the Ugandan coffee industry. Overall it’s extremely good news for the whole industry.”

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