For this trip Farmer Brothers Sustainability and Green Coffee are teaming up to work directly with growers and cooperatives in Africa to improve supply chain traceability and our direct trade relationships.
Christian and I are coming to you live from Kampala, Uganda, where we are starting a 10 day adventure in developing a more traceable African coffee supply chain. Over the next 10 days we will travel through Uganda toward the edge of Queen Elizabeth Park, which borders the Congo Republic and where our traditional Drugar supply chain is sourced. From there, we will head to Rwanda, home of our newest direct trade relationship in conjunction with Rwanda Trading Company and Falcon Coffee.
African coffees in general can be very difficult to trace back to the individual farmer level. Most countries sell coffee cherries each day, and these thousands of small deliveries are pulped and washed (or naturally dried) in bulk collection stations. From there, the coffee changes hands two or three more times before it heads out of the country to Farmer Brothers.
We are partnering with Falcon Coffee to shorten this gap and implement good record keeping at the coffee mill level to ensure that each farmer who is delivering Uganda “Drugars” (Dried Uganda Arabica) is compensated correctly. Traceability is important to us because of the impact it will allow us to have on our supply chain. Without this level of visibility into where our coffees are coming from, we would not be able to establish direct trade relationships or invest in the economic and environmental sustainability of our coffee growing supply chains.
While our journey is just beginning, already I am immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of East Africa. Red dirt is the main color of the landscape, and Kampala is a surprisingly urban city surrounded by sprawling “suburbs” for miles and miles. The first shock came for my driver when I attempted to get in the drivers seat of the car. This is a “drive on the right” country, so no one wants me behind the wheel here! The sounds are traffic, horns, calls to prayer, and a man with a kind voice singing a tune in a language I cannot detect outside of my window. I can’t wait to head out to the rural coffee countryside tomorrow.
As always, stay tuned! We look forward to bringing stories from the road!
–Molly and Christian