Twin has joined forces with Sainsbury’s and the UK’s leading independent coffee roaster, Matthew Algie, to improve coffee quality and farming practices at the Gumudindo coffee cooperative in Uganda. The project, funded by Comic Relief via the Sainsbury’s Fair Development Fund, will support smallholder farmers in the Mount Elgon region in sustainably increasing yields and becoming triple certified (Fairtrade, organic and Rainforest Alliance certified).

“Deforestation and devastating landslides are triggering soil erosion on small farms scattered across the foothills of Mount Elgon,” says Xavier Hamon, Twin’s Climate and Environment Project Officer.  “To tackle this, we’ll be working to strengthen the Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative and provide training in areas such as shade management and soil and water conservation.”

The partnership brings together a host of coffee industry expertise from along the value chain and will target training and support at women farmers to promote gender equality in the cooperative. Achieving triple certification and increasing coffee cupping scores will enable farmers to earn higher premiums for their coffee, increasing farmer incomes. At the end of the project, Sainsbury’s will sell the triple certified coffee in their cafes and communicate the project’s achievements to their customers.

“We want to use our expertise to support the implementation of change across the board,” says Matthew Algie’s Technical Director, Ewan Reid. “From simple enhancements such as improved harvesting and coffee cherry processing that will develop the quality of the coffee, right down to buying and roasting the coffee - with a view to Sainsbury’s cafés brewing it for their customers - we are looking forward to working with farmers on this exciting new project."

Willington Wamayeye, General Manager of Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative, knows that the initiative will help improve the lives of farmers and their communities.  As he puts it, “we are ready to shake mountains.”