Farmer organisations in Tanzania face a series of interrelated challenges, from climate change to lack of investment. Young people particularly are discouraged from cultivating coffee due to low prices. Women farmers, who play a crucial role in ensuring coffee volumes and quality, have traditionally been excluded from ownership of assets, as well as from opportunities for training and economic and social development.

This project will test a holistic response to these challenges, promoting the involvement of women and youth as an approach to increasing productivity, quality and farmer incomes. 

Women and Youth involvement

The contribution of both women and youth in coffee production often goes unrecognised. However, women provide up to 70% of the labour in East African coffee production. By encouraging their intervention in the coffee value chain, Twin and Hivos aim to help Vuasu Cooperative Union in Tanzania respond to current challenges.

A comprehensive assessment of the overall capacity of Vuasu will be undertaken in order to identify exactly the key strangleholds. Youth and women will be actively targeted through household trainings (GALS applied to management of finances, access to assets, and joint decision-making) and organisational changes within the primary cooperatives and Vuasu (gender policy, leadership programmes).

Twin and Hivos will also target markets through women’s coffee and international fairs, and advocacy at national, regional, and international levels.

Consolidating business capacity for social change

Improving the viability of local businesses is the first step to creating local employment prospects and fighting the dwindling of efforts put in growing high quality specialty coffee. The aim is to raise the capacity of Vuasu Cooperative Union to return social and economic value to its members by helping it access better prices through high-value contracts on the specialty market. Through a combination of capital investment, marketing strategizing, quality, business management, and good governance, Twin and Hivos will support the union to develop into a profitable business.


  • Organisation strengthening: staffing and capital expenditure
  • Gender and youth involvement: gender assessment and developing a gender and youth involvement strategy, as well as promoting women’s coffee to the international market
  • Quality: quality control and infrastructure, such as cupping labs, and improvements to quality management systems
  • Sustainable agriculture: environmental assessments, certification, climate learning groups for producer organisations, and fund for input provision
  • Business management: access to finance, business systems, and price risk management
  • Governance: emphasis on meaningful participation of women and youth at all management levels (cooperative and union)
  • Market access: Fairtrade and RFA certification, accompanying producer organisations to trade fairs such as AFCA, SCAA, and SCAE and market intelligence and support
  • Advocacy: raising awareness of the potential of coffee cooperatives for economic development and the vital role of women and youth, and promoting foreign support and investment from businesses

Reach: 16,000 smallholder farmer members of Vuasu Cooperative Union (Tanzania)