In a previous blog post we introduced you to a new offering and Direct Trade Coffee from Tanzania – Gombe Coffee Project, Kanyovu Coop.The project is now in it’s second year, is endorsed by the Jane Goodall Institute and we have the first harvest coffee available through PTs Coffee. But more recently we’ve been receiving updates from Sustainable Harvests at origin staff about the success the farmers are having and we wanted to share them with you. Hopefully you remember the Gombe Coffee Project was initiated out of my trip to Costa Rica last fall to the Let’s Talk Coffee seminars hosted by Sustainable Harvest. At that time they introduced to everyone in attendance a few of the farmers from the Kanyovu Coop and they were looking for roasters who were interested in being a part of the project that Allegro Coffee and Green Mountain coffee had already been involved with. I was one of the first to jump in. This amazing project is bringing hope to a region that was loosing hope. Coffee for years had been almost impossible to grow and process due to a lack of water. With Sustainable Harvests help, and the roasters involved, we are making a difference.They have gone from producing a coffee that was below average and had trouble selling, to producing a coffee that has been cupped at an 89 on a 100-point scale!In the aroma, we got nice, fleeting floral notes, and a combination of caramel and butter. While it was hot, we got a sweet spiciness that resembled thyme, and as it cooled the sweetness was accentuated with notes of blackberries and syrupy honey. It also had a dominant tangy-wineyness to it. You will not only enjoy the sweet and gentle pungent taste when you try it, but you will also enjoy knowing that you are helping coffee farmers in Tanzania break out of the shackles of poverty. Read more about this coffee here. You will not want to miss out on this wonderful coffee experience.Update from our partner at origin – Sustainable HarvestKIGOMA, Tanzania – About a year ago, Isiaka Kasulebe was elected the Chairman of the primary society, or base cooperative, in his community of Kalinzi near Kigoma, Tanzania. He and the other coffee farmers from the village are some of the thousands of growers who belong to the Kanyovu Coffee Curing Cooperative. These producers have been partnering with Sustainable Harvest, PTs Coffee Roasting Co. and several other roasters in the United States for over a year to improve the quality of their coffee, and they have recently celebrated many exciting new developments. In the past few months, the Sustainable Harvest at Origin staff and the Kanyovu farmers like Isiaka have helped the cooperative and the communities manage their water needs, grow and process higher quality coffee, and increase the transparency of their business operations.Isiaka is a life-long resident of Kalinzi, and he and his wife work together to grow coffee and raise their eight children. In reflecting on Kanyovu’s partnership with Sustainable Harvest Importers, Isiaka commented, “I like that Sustainable Harvest is pushing us to improve, to change our practices. Coffee doesn’t wait for us to be ready, it ripens whether we are prepared or not.” Isiaka understands that the Kanyovu farmers must continue to dedicate themselves to quality improvements. Isiaka himself has been involved in many recent initiatives in Kalinzi, from the installation of a new Penagos coffee processing machine to the construction of a new water system.Celebration for Facilitators Sustainable Harvest’s three agronomists in Kigoma visit communities five days a week to teach farmers how to improve the quality of their production and processing. Even with their rigorous schedule, the agronomists cannot reach all 1,400 farmers in the training program. They rely on the help of two or three volunteers from each community who visit their neighbor farmers and share what they learn in the training sessions. These volunteers are called facilitators, or mwezeshaji in Swahili, and they greatly increase the reach of farmer training within the Kanyovu cooperative. In addition, the facilitators have collected data about the farms and the primary societies, which will help the cooperative plan how to increase traceability and productivity.Kanyovu CelebrationSustainable Harvest recently hosted a party to celebrate the contributions of these volunteers over the past year. It was also an occasion to celebrate the new Sustainable Harvest office in the town of Kigoma. Genevieve Edens from Sustainable Harvest described the facilitators’ trip to Kigoma for the party: “Our 100 guests left their villages at 9 a.m. in a procession of minivans. After a few minor mishaps – two flat tires and some car sickness – everyone arrived safely at our office. In true Tanzanian fashion, we invited the Kanyovu board members to the high table, and we heard speeches from one facilitator, a co-op farmer, the Kanyovu Chairman, and Sara Morrocchi [Sustainable Harvest Project Director and author of this article].”During the party, each facilitator received a certificate of appreciation as well as a t-shirt with the Sustainable Harvest logo. To catch a glimpse of the festivities, click here to watch a video made by Sustainable Harvest staff.Guaranteeing WaterIn the region of Kigoma, water is scarce during much of the year. In addition to day-to-day needs, farmers must find enough water to wet process their coffee – over one million gallons of water each harvest season.This spring, Sustainable Harvest worked with eight Kanyovu primary societies to build new water systems that will consistently provide water for the communities’ general use and for the washing stations. Each system was custom designed by two water engineers from the United States, a water expert from a Costa Rican coffee cooperative, and a local hydrogeologist. All eight water systems draw from local sources such as natural springs and channel the water to two tanks – one for the washing station and one for general use. For more detailed information on the water systems, click here.127.jpgNew Penagos Coffee Processing MachinesOnce the new water systems were finished, the next step to help the cooperative better process its coffee was to install new Penagos machines at four washing stations. Sara, the Penagos technician Juma, and the hydrogeologist Ishabakaki traveled to the communities to carry out the installation of the new Penagos machines. As soon as he opened the crates containing the machines, Juma involved the co-op members in helping him set up the machine.The Kalinzi Chairman, Isiaka (pictured below), involved himself in the whole process and even traveled to another primary society to see a second installation and make sure he understood how the machines were assembled. One Kalinzi farmer exclaimed to Isiaka, “You’ve become a technician today!” The farmer’s comment highlighted how unusual it is for leaders to role up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. By doing just that, Isiaka is providing a strong example for the other farmers.In addition to the physical installation, the process wi
ll include a two-day training for the farmers on how to operate and maintain the machine. This year all the new Penagos machines will be operating in a temporary shed, made of wood and corrugated iron sheets. However, by next year all eight societies will have a properly built structure to house the washing station equipment. In fact, the co-op is so excited about the new Penagos technology that they are making plans to purchase Penagos machines for additional washing stations.To see a slide show from the Penagos machine installation, click here. Penagos Coffee Milling machineTraining & TransparencyThe Sustainable Harvest staff is carrying out an initiative to teach the Kanyovu farmers about the world coffee market, the supply chain, and how to understand their coffee contracts. At first, farmers asked why the contracts are in English instead of Swahili, which they could understand. In response, Sara taught the farmers where to find the most important information on their contract – the cooperative name, the client, and the price. For most Kanyovu farmers, this is the first time they have seen their contracts and understood how the price they receive is derived from world economic markets. To further increase transparency, this coming harvest Sustainable Harvest will translate the contracts into Swahili and visit each primary society to publicly post the contract for farmers to see and read.————————————————————————————-Update by Sara Morrocchi – Sustainable Harvest Project ManagerRe-published with permission from Sustainable Harvest, Owner David Griswoldsaramorrocchi.jpg