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Sub-Saharan Africa

Alur Highlands Coffee Alliance (AHCA)

Client: United States Agency for International Development

2013–2016

Challenge

Coffee is one of Uganda’s most lucrative export crops, yet Uganda’s West Nile Region remains among the country’s lowest performing production areas; coffee trees are old and low-yielding and quality is poor due to the lack of good agricultural production and post-harvest management practices. Residents also suffer from moderate to serious food insecurity and high rates of malnutrition. Nevertheless, the region has huge potential due to the coffee’s unique flavor characteristics and consumers’ growing demand for socially--and environmentally--sustainable coffee, presenting a compelling development opportunity for the region.

Solution

The Alur Highlands Coffee Alliance (AHCA) is a partnership between USAID, CARANA and Ecom Agroindustrial Corporation Ltd. – a global commodity trader – that is leveraging its common interests and resources to build a sustainable and competitive Ugandan coffee industry. Ecom, the project’s resource partner, is committed to expanding into Uganda’s remote northwest corner to provide its international clients improved access to desirable high-quality Arabica coffee.

AHCA’s success in developing a sustainable and transparent coffee industry also rests with the other Alliance partners: Sustainable Management Services (SMS) and GeoTraceability, which are providing technical support in good agricultural practices, upgrading nurseries and the availability of inputs, and rolling-out GIS mapping and a traceability system for the region’s coffee farms. The AHCA project is targeting 16,000 farmers in northwestern Uganda to improve incomes and livelihoods. It is doing this through a four-pronged approach: (1) farmer training in agronomic practices; (2) establishment of a traceability system; (3) smallholder access to finance; and (4) beans production via inter-cropping for improved food security.

Impact

Through this sustainable commercial relationship, the project is expected to double the incomes of the 16,000 linked farmers, increase their coffee yields by 30 to 40%, improve access to new credit and financial services for 8,000 farmers, and facilitate the certification of 30% of the linked farmers.