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Case study:
Tutunze / Mbinga Activities, Tanzania

ECOM’s export company in Tanzania, Tutunze Kahawa Ltd., specializes in the trade of high-quality, fully washed Arabica coffee purchased directly from farmer groups.

The company’s strategy is to build a platform for sustainable trade with small and medium-sized producers, rewarding them for implementing internationally recognized standards of production. Some of the services that ECOM delivers to farmers through Tutunze include:

Advisory Services – field advisory services to farmers to increase production through good agricultural practices. Training in bookkeeping, intercropping and environmental and financial best practice allow farmers to generate higher and more sustainable incomes.

Supply Services – Especially in remote areas in the Southern Highlands, farmers do not have access to adequate inputs. Tutunze Kahawa therefore provides additional services to supply farm inputs, tools and seedlings, and also supports farmers to obtain credit and services from banks and governmental institutions.

Central Pulping Unit Services (wet mills) – Tutunze Kahawa’s own wet mills allow producers to convert their harvests from traditionally semi-washed into fully washed coffees of a higher quality and price. By paying cash for every delivery of coffee, they also ensure farmers access the income stream much sooner than those producers who sell to their harvests through the auction.

Marketing – Tutunze Kahawa is working to certify producers who deliver cherry to its wet mills, as well as promoting fine coffees to the international specialty market. In 2010/11, one of Tutunze’s coffees was voted the best Tanzanian coffee in the National Taste of Harvest cupping competition.

In conjunction with Supremo & Lobodis, coffee roasters, Tutunze has implemented ECOM Tanzania’s first “custom-made” certification project.

The initial goals were:

  • Tree stumping & husbandry training
  • Shade tree planting
  • Soil testing
  • Climate change analysis
  • A group savings scheme

In the past, a small farmer group called Punga had expressed their desire to partner with Tutunze.

Tutunze was then approached by Supremo with the prospect of developing a boutique certification programme on behalf of Lobodis. Punga’s collection of around 200 farmers made it a perfect fit, and the members keenly signed up for the scheme.

Their enthusiasm has not waned since, come wind or rain. The Tutunze Kahawa vehicles have battled their way through the Tanzanian bush to deliver training and seedlings, and to monitor the project’s progress. Within six months, all of the initial goals were completed. And Lobodis, a roaster from France, has become a household name in Punga and the surrounding area.

Punga’s collection of around 200 farmers made it a perfect fit, and the members keenly signed up for the scheme.