Improving growing conditions for coffee – and as a consequence, for cocoa and vanilla – by providing shade, humidity and improving soil quality.
Developed in partnership with the Louis Dreyfus Foundation, the Louis Dreyfus Company, Nespresso and Ben & Jerry’s. Together, we support small-scale coffee producers.
Participating farmers are members of the Rwenzori Farmers Cooperative Union (RFCU), which includes cooperatives from the districts of Kasese, Kabarole, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo in the Rwenzori region.
Rwenzori is the largest Arabica-producing region of Africa, driven by high-crop yields in the short term, full-sun agriculture was encouraged with heavy use of chemicals. The area has been heavily deforested in the past decades and the remaining tree cover consists of exotic species harmful to the natural ecosystems such as eucalyptus or pine trees.
The Rwenzori project was established in 2015 to support small-scale coffee, vanilla and cocoa farmers in the right against deforestation, land erosion and climate change effects. Agroforestry practices are implemented to address a number of challenges the communities and landscape face – regular pests and biodiversity loss, reduced pollination, reduced pest control and reduced water resources. PUR seeks to reinforce farmers’ technical knowledge through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and supports revenue diversification.
To align with diverse rainy patterns in the Rwenzori region, tree planting is organized in two phases – mid-October and the rest in November to December. Depending on local operations, farmers come directly to the community tree nurseries to pick up their seedlings, or trees are loaded onto trucks and delivered to the beneficiaries at a collecting point. Trees are given out according to the farmer’s agroforestry plan established during pre-registries to ensure the correct number of trees and adequate species are distributed.
Planting diversified native trees using agroforestry and reforestation models in and around small-holder coffee, cocoa and vanilla plantations is ongoing. Project activities include training, tree distribution and planting, monitoring, and technical support. Activities like these have the potential to reduce erosion and regulate microclimatic conditions while diversifying revenues and restoring ecosystem services.
Using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) a comprehensive training curriculum was developed for small-holder coffee farmers consisting of 10 modules that cover topics like shade management, soil and water conservation, pest and disease management and harvest and post-harvest practices. Training modules are complemented with the facilitation of material to maximize the adoption of practices.
In 2020, a community theatre play was organized to raise awareness of key environmental and social issues in the project area – deforestation and forest encroachment, community access to protected areas, and crop diversification. Gender diagnostic tests were conducted to better understand the gender norms in the area, to raise awareness and promote women empowerment with local communities.
LocationRwenzori region, Uganda
Agroforestry and reforestation
Local partnerRwenzori Farmers Cooperative Union (RFCU)
Participants2,092 small-scale farmers
Achievements601,875 planted trees
supply chainCocoa , Coffee , Fruits and Vegetables