12acp-5917 - Ankole: preparing for setting up its own coffee factory
Ankole Coffee Producers Co-operative Union Ltd (ACPCU) was founded in July 2006. It has 16 primary society members who between them have about 6,500 member-farmers. Its main business is Fairtrade and Organic-certified Robusta coffee, sold mainly in the European market to date, but with increasing interest from USA and the Middle East. It collects hulled, ungraded Robusta FAQ from member-societies, cleans and grades it and sells it on the local market or exports it in containers. In 2012-13 ACPCU has procured 1,406 MTs of Robusta FAQ, and exported 1268.2 MT of which 70% was Fairtrade, 25% being double-certified i.e. Fairtrade and Organic. The balance has been sold locally to exporters. ACPCU’s mission is ‘to promote the mutual economic interests of members in a sustainable way through value addition and bulk marketing in order to produce and export good quality products which are competitive on the market.’ In order to involve its member societies and their farmers as much as possible in the value addition chain, ACPCU has used Fairtrade premiums in 2009 to buy a plot of land in the designated industrial area of the expanding town of Kabwohe, a location that is central to its area of operation. In 2012 ACPCU added to that plot and is now the outright owner of a rectangular parcel of land about 2.05 hectares in size. ACPCU intends to use this land as a complex containing new offices, warehouses, a coffee-processing factory and a nursery for coffee and shade-tree seedlings. So far, the nursery has made good progress but the rest of the development has not started, due to lack of funds. An investment loan is therefore needed for a grading factory complex, in order for ACPCU to have full control over the physical coffee at all stages. The total amount requested is initially budgeted to be 996.000 USD of which equity is 353,000 USD and balance of 643,00 external investment payable in 3 to 5 years. The support of Agriterra will now focus specifically on helping ACPCU with the realization of its investment plans. The support will be broad. Support will focus on ACPCU as on organization, it will focus on business planning, it will focus on finding funds, it will focus on strengthening financial management and information systems, and it will focus on increasing member’s loyalty, which enhances volumes of coffee.