Market access, especially to high-value international and speciality markets, means economic empowerment for smallholders. We provide market intelligence, mentoring, ongoing advice, negotiate contracts, promote new origins and help build collaborative, long-term relationships with buyers.

Twin's approach to market access:

Market access
  • contract negotiation and market insights
  • collaborative, long-term buyer relationships
  • origin and producer profile raising

Case study: Paineto's story

Paineto Baluku
Managing Director, Bukonzo Joint
Kyalhumba, Uganda

I started my career as a development worker and later mobilised self help groups. In 1999, I was able to convince 11 of these groups to merge and form the Bukonzo Joint (BJCU) cooperative. I volunteered at the cooperative for ten years until we realised some income in 2009. As Managing Director and one of the Founders, my role is to support the different Mangers.

I was first introduced to Twin when I visited their London office to present Bukonzo Joint’s gender programme in 2010. BJCU had been collecting coffee since 2004 and was selling it all to middle buyers in Uganda. We decided to join Twin’s Joint Marketing Initiative (JMI) to be able to access world coffee markets and in 2011 we exported our first container through Twin Trading.

There have been many benefits of joining the JMI: 95% of our coffee is now sold internationally; our farmers produce a higher quality coffee through JMI trainings and advice; we have maintained our organic and Fairtrade certifications because JMI Links us to buyers who pay the premiums, including for quality; and JMI has linked some of our micro-stations to international direct buyers and roasters.

Twin also helps us communicate with buyers. Every season, buyers visit BJCU and its farmers and we also receive frequent JMI Market reports. BJCU has a contact at JMI who keeps us informed on market availability through emails and phone calls and we receive trainings and progress reports. We also have JMI joint meetings with other cooperative members which involve everyone presenting his or her cooperative progress.

BJCU managed to get funding through Twin to support our farmers on climatic change adaptation and helped us access more funds from Rabobank Foundation to train our farmers on Quality Management. We have now built 32 micro stations which have contributed to the quality of our coffee increasing from 76 to 86 SCAA cupping score [speciality grade].

At the moment, we have five coffee contracts booked ahead of the harvest. For the first time, BJCU can know that eight buyers are waiting for our farmers to harvest. Looking at all the time we spent selling our coffee to middle buyers compared with what we have achieved in a short time thanks to improved quality, I can say we now have long-term vision. Thank you for caring for farmers Twin!