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Uganda: Simon Levelt’s Sipi Falls Arabica coffee

uganda-coffeeIn Bugisu, Eastern Uganda, smallholder farmers produce excellent award winning Arabica coffee, like the Sipi Falls Arabica coffee which receives worldwide recognition. It is available as specialty coffee in Simon Levelt’s shops since October 2011, and as Single Origin, Special Reserve coffee at Starbucks since October 2015. Watch this video for the full story: https://youtu.be/vuxZpOQT1Xs

Although the coffee from Bugisu has always been recognised for its quality and special taste, the quality was inconsistent, mainly due to poor processing by local farmers.  The Dutch company Simon Lévelt and local partner Kawacom, decided to invest together in a centrally located processing wet mill and drying facility to process the coffee beans. As part of this investment 7,000 coffee farmers were trained and now produce organic coffee according to UTZ, Rain Forest Alliance and Organic standards. The project’s nurseries supply farmers with coffee plants and various trees (like shade trees) to help prevent soil erosion. The partners also invested in an ecological water treatment system that has been expanded with sedimentation tanks and a papyrus pond to purify the plant’s waste water. In addition a state of the art retractable drying roof structure was installed recently to enable farmers to dry their coffee in humid weather conditions.

The higher quality coffee attracts both higher value and increased demand resulting in an improved income to the farmers, who receive training on coffee production and handling in the newly commissioned Farmers Training Center. The outgrowers scheme currently counts some 11,000 trained and certified coffee producers supplying Arabica to the Sipi processing facility.

Visit the website of Simon Lévelt to learn more about this family business and its passion for coffee and tea for 200 years. Not only do they offer good quality coffees and teas; Simon Lévelt is also committed to making a positive contribution to people’s lives and the environment in coffee producing areas.

The project was supported with a grant from the PSOM programme of the Dutch government. Advance Consulting assisted the project partners with their application for the grant and with project management.