Argyll Coffee - Tanzania
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Smallholders from the Nangondo Coop in the Mbozi district within the Songwe region of Tanzania
Kent & Compact
Notes of Gooseberry, Pear and Caramel
The Songwe region, rich in agricultural production, is situated in southern Tanzania bordering Zambia and Malawi. This is the location of the Mbozi District, populated with 175 villages and around 515,000 people. The Nangondo Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) work with five of these villages Igamba, Itepula, Misia, Iganduka, and Ibembwa to gather and export excellent coffee.
Founded in 2017, the AMCOS now works with 89 members growing coffee on 5 hectares of land or less. Collectively, the AMCOS produces roughly 315,000 kilograms of coffee each year. The region is dominated by clay soils, regular rainfall, and mild temperatures – making it an ideal area to grow coffee.
Members of the AMCOS source their coffee seedlings from the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute and follow specific planting guidelines to ensure successfully coffee production. Each farm is managed with regular weeding, pruning, spraying, and application of fertilizer. Soil health is maintained with the application of mulch whilst pests and diseases are carefully monitored. Agricultural advice is offered to each member via farmer training programs and field visits from the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute and Coffee Management Services.
The harvest generally begins with each producer handpicking ripe cherries and delivering to the Nangondo washing station. Here the cherries are sorted, washed, and then de-pulped. This includes feeding the cherries into a Makinnnon disc-pulper or Penagos eco-pulper to detach the exterior pulp from the coffee seed. What remains is a sticky mucilage that will break down thanks to the following fermentation step as the coffee rests in water to break down the sugary skin. Next, the coffee is pushed through washing/grading channels where floating coffee is removed to maintain quality. One final dunk in water occurs before being evenly dispersed on raised beds or drying tables to dry in the open sun. The coffee stays here for several weeks until the moisture content reaches 11.5%.
The AMCOS itself is managed by an elected board with members who oversee the cooperative. There is a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and a secretary, helping ensure that each member is profitably growing coffee and maintaining a sustainable livelihood.
Some of the major threats faced by these producers include a lack of access to inputs, difficulty accessing credit, poor roads and infrastructure, little knowledge on budgeting/running a coffee farm and climate change. These threats are being addressed with the trainings being offered by the AMCOS to help equip producers with the tools necessary to produce profitable coffee despite looming obstacles.