Meet the farmers: Jenipher
Coffee farmers do the lion’s share of the work in producing coffee, but often receive the least amount of money & recognition. The quality of our coffee comes down to the hard work and dedication of the farmers that produce it with such care. We think it’s important for you to know who grew your coffee, so our ‘meet the farmers’ section is a place that you can come to do just that.
Of the 3000+ farmers that produce Jenipher’s Coffi, who better to start with than Jenipher herself?
Name: Jenipher Sambazi
Location on Mt Elgon: 2,400 metres above sea level
Growing coffee since: 1992
Jenipher is a widowed mother of six children. She’s been growing coffee for decades, and she’s really a pro. Jenipher farms at 2,400 meters above sea level, high on the slopes of Mt Elgon, and similarly to farmers in Wales, her life revolves around her crops.
Jenipher is also the Vice-chair of the Mt Elgon Agroforestry Communities Co-operative Enterprise, MEACCE in short, a co-operative of over 3,000 farmers who work together to produce coffee, some of which is sold as Jenipher’s Coffi in Wales. As the Vice-Chair of the cooperative, together with the Chair, Nimrod Wambette and the rest of the cooperative’s leadership, Jenipher represents and supports the cooperative’s farmers. More on co-operatives here.
As a leader of the cooperative, and a leader in her community – positions that are not commonly held by women in Uganda – Jenipher is really a trailblazer. Equally passionate about producing quality coffee, and protecting her community and environment from the impacts of climate change, Jenipher is an inspiration to many in her community. She credits Fairtrade as playing a huge role in supporting her after the loss of her husband, benefiting her children’s education and wellbeing.
We asked Jenipher a couple of questions about her work:
What do you like most about what you do?
I have been able to educate my children through coffee farming.
The biggest worry for the future?
Climate change has affected farmers on Mount Elgon because sometimes we experience drought which affects our coffee. Even during heavy rainfall, it also affects the coffee berries and coffee flowers during flowering. Sometimes if we have heavy storms with hailstones, it destroys our coffee and we experience many defects during coffee production.
Why would she encourage someone to buy Jenipher’s Coffi?
As we produce the coffee to Fairtrade standards, we get a good price for our coffee. Our coffee is of very good quality and I would be very happy if everyone in Wales was drinking it!
Do you have a question you’d like to ask Jenipher?
Share it here. Because of the remoteness of where Jenipher lives, and the uncertainty of connection in Uganda, she can be offline for days or weeks at a time, but we’ll try our best to get you an answer as soon as we can.