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Dave Bishop, 01 April 2023

A Letter from Zukuka Bora

Zukuka Bora is on the water and making its way to us as we sip. We thought it might be nice to get some post-season thoughts from Dave Bishop and the Zukuka Bora team. Going into our 7th harvest together we are thrilled with the successes, but by no means is the work done and we continue to partner with our Ugandan community on making a coffee industry that is fair and equitable for all. Thank you for supporting us so we can continue to support ZB.

Bukhanakwa ridgeline overlooking a valley of coffee farmers in Uganda

So, another harvest season draws to a close, and what a season it’s been!

As with every season the highs and the lows seem to be mixed in equal measure. The highs this season, quite literally, have been paying farmers the highest prices we’ve seen since we started in 2016. A whole combination of factors has led to this, but we’re thrilled to see more than 2,000 farmers receive prices 85% higher than when we started!

Raised coffee beds in Uganda
Michael the warehouse manager giving a tour of the drying beds while Dave talks to the Kua & Commonfolk team about the years harvest.

This is huge, and the results on the mountain are clear to see. More children are able to go to school, families are able to improve their homes, and we’re seeing more and more farmers embrace coffee as a rewarding livelihood. In addition, we were able to employ more than 150 people in remote mountain communities, while creating a ‘ripple effect’ which engages so many more - whether motorcycle riders, truck drivers, carpenters, builders, shipping companies…the list goes on! It’s thrilling to see genuine impact and lives being changed for the better.

We’re so grateful for our coffee-roasting and buying partners who have played such a huge part in making this change happen. The changes described can only happen when the whole coffee chain plays its part. To put it clearly, our farmers this season received the equivalent of US$5.05/kg for their coffee – a really great result. Our costs – which include the employment of so many in harvest/post-harvest processing, as well as all the associated needs of transport, infrastructure development and maintenance – push the cost of production significantly higher. It can be quite dispiriting to receive regular requests for coffee at a cost not only below the cost of the raw coffee, but way below the cost of production.

Even with the generous prices paid by our roasting partners, it’s often touch and go whether we’ll keep our heads above the water. But we keep believing for a better and sustainable future for coffee producers, and in genuine partnership with committed buyers we hope we can make it happen.

Happy days,

Dave Bishop & the Zukuka Bora team