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Rwenzori Kisinga

The Rwenzoris are a mountain range famously known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon.’ They stretch for 120 kilometres along the Western Uganda border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The snow-capped peaks reach over 5,000 metres above sea level and support glaciers that are the start of many rivers flowing down the slopes (including one source of the Nile). The slopes of this range are where the government of Uganda is promoting coffee production as a key driver for rural development.

The area is also home to the Bakonzo tribe, a people who have farmed the foothills of the Rwenzori for many generations. The high altitude, fertile soils and plentiful rainfall provide perfect growing conditions for Arabica coffee. Coffee offers the Bakonzo farmers a stable income that allows them to support their families and develop their homes. The coffee is grown under the shade of banana trees, while the mixed farms also produce cassava, maize, beans and groundnuts for local consumption and additional income.

  • Farm Rwenzori Kisinga
  • Varietal Nyasaland & Bugisu
  • Process Natural
  • Altitude 1,700 to 2,200 metres above sea level
  • Town / City Kisinga, Kasese
  • Region Rwenzori – Western Uganda
  • Owner 2,000 farmers - members of Rwenzori Arabica Scheme Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd.
  • Tasting Notes Bruised fruit, plum, red apple
  • Farm Size 1,000+ hectares in total
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Rwenzori Kisinga

Most farmers have around 1 hectare of land, and all work on the farm is done by hand, usually by immediate family members. Families work together in groups, usually community-based but sometimes also extended family groups, to process and market their coffee, an approach known as ‘share farming.’ This helps to improve processing, better control quality and increases their marketing ability.
Kyagalanyi is one of the entities tapping into this budding potential and making it possible for smallholders to participate in specialty markets.

Kyagalanyi aims to build long term relationships with the groups in the region and works closely with them to develop the value chain. The work in the Bakonzo County has only recently begun, but already Kyagalanyi is assisting farmers with better market information, improved prices for better quality and advice on how producers can improve their primary processing techniques. This area will soon become part of the Kyagalanyi Coffee Services program which aims to sustainably increase coffee production and quality.

About Uganda

For many, Uganda might not the first country that comes to mind when thinking of high-quality Arabica: the country has been traditionally known as a producer of Robusta – in fact, some of the highest quality Robusta available on the market – and is reputed to even be its birthplace. However, in many regions of the country the challenges to quality Arabica production are certainly more a matter of infrastructure, history and knowledge than environment. For instance, the slopes of Mt. Elgon in the eastern reaches of the country (bordering Kenya) and on the slopes of the Mount Rwenzori, known locally as the ‘mountains of the moon’, in the Northwest bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are microclimates and terrains that are ideal for the production of high-quality coffee.