The bonds between Wales and the Mt Elgon region of Uganda go back a long way. For decades, we’ve been exchanging ideas, sharing learning and working hand-in-hand to tackle some of the biggest problems facing both the region and the world.
Farmers from the Mt Elgon region have been regular visitors to Wales over the years, especially during annual Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations. Visiting schools, businesses and community groups in Wales, farmers have shared how Fairtrade has made a difference to their coffee production and communities.
On a visit to Uganda in 2010, Elen met Jenipher and they’ve been in touch ever since. At that first meeting, Elen asked how people in Wales can best support the farmers. Jenipher’s answer was simple – buy our coffee on Fairtrade terms. In 2020, this became a reality with the launch of Jenipher’s Coffi.
The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum paid to the farmers on top of the Fairtrade price, which they collectively decide how to spend for the benefit of their business or community. Examples include clean water and education projects and investing in equipment that improves coffee production.
The coffee sector has long been male-dominated, with women historically having less access to land, credit and technical assistance. The Fairtrade standards are helping to challenge this gender gap, supporting women to lead and succeed on their own terms.
By planting trees, and farming organically via a method known as agroforestry, farmers are improving soil health and protecting it from the flash floods that threaten to wash it away.
A collective of committed organisations and individuals in Wales and Uganda have come together to make Jenipher’s Coffi a reality. The values of cooperative working that the farmers hold, from equality to honesty and solidarity extend across all our activities.
Thousands of farmers, each farming small plots of 2-3 acres, work together to produce the delicious coffee in our bags. They share their knowledge to produce the highest quality coffee while responding to the climate crisis. In this way, they protect both their livelihoods and the place they, and we, call home.
Mudslides and flooding are hitting the farming communities of Mt Elgon with increasing regularity. Their effects are devastating and often fatal. Through tree planting, sustainable farming methods and joint education programmes, the people of Wales and Uganda are working together to fight back. We’re supporting communities in Mt Elgon to mitigate the impacts of climate change and become more resilient to the weather extremes they increasingly face.