Brewing all the Good We Can: 2018 Endiro Growers Farm Report
We are pleased to report that Endiro Growers Uganda has now completed our third year of growing coffee in Eastern Uganda. Recently we conducted a field survey of our ongoing coffee growing project in the village of Bukalasi (Bududa District, Uganda) to gauge our progress. The results, testimonies and newfound hope for the future are simply breathtaking. We are humbled to be a part of this profound work that is changing so many lives in such dramatic ways and we are extremely grateful for everyone from the farmer to the coffee drinker who with every bean and every cup is making the Endiro vision become a reality.
As a reminder, our vision is to be a company that partners with others to end child vulnerability globally through coffee and its people, related products, profits, services, spaces and stories.
Exponential Growth of Coffee Production and Income Generation
In last year’s report, we cited a Lehigh University study that found that the average coffee farming family in the Bududa District of Uganda earns about $100 per year through their crops. Since coffee has long been the primary cash crop for farmers living in this area, it is safe to assume that most families are thus living off between $50-200 per year or about 25-50 cents per day per household. Keeping in mind that the World Bank has set the “international poverty line” at $1.90 per person per day, we recognize that poverty in Bududa is extreme.
We began growing coffee together with the farming families of Bukalasi in the 2015-16 season with three core principles:
1) Ignoring global market prices, we would pay 8,000 UGX per kilo of coffee, without exception.
2) We would train and equip the farmers so that they could perform initial processing (floating, pulping, washing, drying) so that we could achieve a specialty grade coffee.
3) We would do everything in the context of genuine relationship.
Since that beginning point, we have invested large amounts of money (which we don’t really have) and even larger amounts of time to train and equip our farmers. Ultimately, we formed four teams in Bukalasi.
· Team A – Irene, Team Leader | 50 members
· Team B – Beth, Team Leader | 50 members
· Team C – Florence, Team Leader | 50 members
· Team D – Aida, Team Leader | 50 members
As we have reported previously, the 2015-16 season saw a harvest of about 7,000 kilograms of parchment coffee produced in Bukalasi. The next year the volume doubled, allowing us to input over $32,000 into the community.
This year, at the beginning of the harvest season, we committed to increasing our price to 8,300 UGX per kilo of coffee. The teams responded by producing more coffee in one season than in the previous two seasons combined – approximately 49,000 kilograms of coffee! This generated more than $110,000 for the community – money that is having an enormous and catalytic impact.
Bukalasi Life is Changing
The testimonies that we hear from Bukalasi coffee farmers are what keep us going. Team Leader Irene reported that her farmers are buying more land, cows for milk, and bulls for meat. She said that the children of the farmers in her team are in school and that domestic violence in the households is diminishing. Aida, another team leader shared many of the same things and Beth spoke of how family life is improving and how new group savings plans have been instituted which are helping families during the off season. Another farmer was able to use her money to build a rental house in a nearby city which is producing additional income for her family. Many other farmers have made similar investments into auxiliary forms of income so that the coffee income is being multiplied – many families are quickly approaching and some have even surpassed the international poverty line.
In the next generation changes are quite pronounced. Now moving into our fourth year of coffee farming, we are celebrating with families who are able to pay for their older children to attend universities and trade schools. One farmer has even reported that his daughter was accepted in a pre-medicine program at a university in Germany! Time will tell how the village of Bukalasi will be impacted by children who grow up healthy and educated.
Brewing all the Good We Can!
In addition to surveying the progress of the coffee farming projects, we spent considerable time with the team leaders workshopping, praying and dreaming about the future. We have been inspired by the words of John Wesley:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
The powerful, almost desperate passion evident in Wesley’s voice here is how we feel all the time. So much has been accomplished in Bukalasi and it would be tempting to sit back and rest in that for a while. However, we still see so many challenges. There is still so much poverty in Bukalasi. So much need. So much brokenness. And then there are many other villages in need. We cannot be complacent.
In the spirit of Wesley, we have adopted a new motto, “Brewing all the Good We Can!” What that means is that we are going to continue pressing forward in Bukalasi and elsewhere to do all the good we can in all the ways we can as long as we can. Here are a few of our new projects at various stages of development:
· Mattaya Coffee – We have officially started a new group in the nearby village of Manafwa. Fifty farmers are there working with us and have produced just over 1,000 kilograms in their first season with us. As some of you have tasted, the coffee is delicious and we hope to grow their capacity in the coming years.
· “Drink the Whole Tree” – We are working with the Bukalasi farmers on developing products which make use of coffee cherries and coffee leaves in order to add additional income for our coffee farmers. Some of you have tasted the first fruits of our coffee leaf teas and cascara drinks. There is more to come!
· Goats from Mubende to Bukalasi – We have had the blessing of partnering with a goat project in Mubende, Uganda which has helped a number of refugee children get access to education, food and other basic needs. Now the leader of that project is helping us to develop strategies for raising goats in other areas.
· “Karamoja Honey” – We are partnering with some good friends among the Karamoja to develop a sustainable and scalable bee-keeping project. Also, in 2018 we will be helping to sponsor “Tour of Karamoja”, an amazing mountain biking tour which will raise awareness and interest in the very needy Karamoja region. Could there be Karamoja coffee one day?
· Iganga Chickens to Chocolate – We have reopened a coffee bar in Iganga and are continuing to work on some agricultural projects in a nearby village. Recently we have developed a strategy together with a group of farmers to raise chickens, goats and then chocolate. It sounds weird, but it’s happening. Who doesn’t want to see Endiro Chocolate?
We really do thank God and thank all of you for helping us get this far. As you can see, our dreams for the future are even bigger. Please keep buying and drinking our coffee and telling others to do the same. We have some great new coffee roasting partners who are helping us to move more coffee and are helping to tell the amazing Bukalasi story. We also have a number of awesome wholesale partners who are buying our coffee for their cafes, restaurants, and churches. We are careful to give plenty of shout outs to these partners on our social media pages, so be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
[Want to buy wholesale green or roasted coffee? Click here and fill out the contact form.]
Soon we will begin building our first full-scale production roastery in the United States which will mean that you’ll be seeing more Endiro Coffee in more places. We also will have our first origin tours coming up in 2019 – coffee nerds, get ready!