Sorting cherries


Agriculture is the mainstay of the Ugandan economy employing 65.6% of the labour force and contributing 21% to the GDP. Since 2002, the economy grew consistently at an average of 6.4% and has since built momentum. However, in 2013, more than a third of citizens lived below the international extreme poverty line of US$1.90 a day.

Agricultural production is dominated by smallholder farmers. And, Uganda is one of the leading producers of coffee in East Africa and leading agricultural export. The current National Coffee Strategy presents ambitious targets for coffee exports: from 3.6m in 2016 to 20m bags by 2020. However, small cooperatives enterprises in Uganda face structural challenges to meet production and quality targets as they lack the necessary access to affordable finance.  

This project, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), aims to reduce poverty for male and female smallholder farmers in Western Uganda by enhancing coffee businesses. The project is being run in collaboration with two producer organisations, Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union (BJCU) and Rwenzori Farmers’ Cooperative Union (RFCU).

Project Overview

Over three years, this programme will support 5,201 female and 2,933 male smallholder farmers in Western Uganda to increase their household incomes by 20%. Moreover, their livelihoods will be more secure and sustainable as a result of being members of a robust cooperative business that provides direct market access to the highest paying coffee buyers in Europe and North America, thus developing a stronger, more resilient coffee value chain that benefits all stakeholders.

Business Management 

  • Business and management training at union and primary coop level on financial planning, business and price risk management

  • Mentorship to facilitate negotiations with ethical lenders


  • Training on governance at primary society level
  • Exchange visit to a cooperative with a strong governance structure

 Market Access

  • Support the development of season planning and reviews
  • Develop and review of marketing strategy
  • Send samples to potential buyers
  • Facilitate buyer visits
  • Attend trade fairs

Quality and processing

  • Offer technical assistance and training on specific quality improvements such as processing that are required for specialty markets
  • Develop infrastructure for quality management
  • Deliver farm level training on quality improvements (TOT approach)
  • Arrange an exchange visit to a cooperative with good quality and processing systems

Sustainable agriculture and gender 

  • Establish and support demo plot network and gender focused training on good agricultural practices.

Location: Western Uganda

Reach: 8,134 smallholder farmers

Duration: three years

Recent achievements

  • Construction of drying tables at BJCU
  • Training in business management and sustainable agriculture