In Tanzania, the production, elaboration and trade of coffee is administrated by a "Primary society" (or Village Cooperative) system, to which small farmers are joined. At the same time, these farmers are associated to (regional) Cooperative Unions, established in one out to five coffee producer regions.
Two of these regional cooperatives, KCU and KNCU, commercialize more than half the coffee in the country. KCU consists of 96 Primary Societies with 60,000 members. The administration of KCU is ruled by a 12-members Administration Council, whereas the different work areas are filled with 400 employees.
KCU was founded in 1950 by 48 primary societies (based on villages). In 1976, it was dissolved by the government, along with other cooperatives and replaced by a state organization responsible of the sales and transformation. The cooperative unions were reestablished in 1984, but its goods were never restored, consequently, they had to face extremely poor conditions. In 1991, the government provided the cooperatives with total autonomy and freedom of association. Later, KCU carried out its first Fair Trade exportation, whereas Alternativa 3 carried out its first importation from the cooperative into our country in 1999.
KCU is a second-level cooperative. Its main activity is coffee and other farmer products trade from 178 different primary or village based cooperatives of the Kagera region, particularly from the districts of Bukoba and Muleba, representing over 100,000 farmers that along with their families consist of 300,000 people. KCU also provides small farmers with formation and technical and financial support. Farmers join the primary cooperatives when they acquire 5 shares in the societies for 1,500 shillings from Tanzania.
Products: green robusta coffee, BIO instant coffee, coffee sweets