Uganda, Gumitindo 

Founded in 1998

Comprised of 7,000 members

Mount Elgon Region

Organic; FLO

1000 – 1900 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Catimor varietals

Medium acidity, full body, cedar and dark chocolate flavors

Located on and around Mount Elgon, a large volcanic mountain spanning a chunk of the border between Uganda and Kenya, the farmers of Gumutindo produce high quality arabica coffee at altitudes up to 1,900 meters above sea level. The cooperative is a farmer-owned business comprised of ten different “primary societies” (community based organizations) and representing more than 7,000 farmers.  After losing its foothold in the international market in the early 1990s, it became very difficult for Ugandan coffee farmers to find sales outlets for their high quality beans. The dismantling of the country’s coffee industry had created a hostile environment for foreign importers – and Uganda became known as a high volume, lower grade source. But in 1998, a handful of farmers joined a collective effort to re-establish Uganda’s commitment to quality coffee and cooperative structures. And by 1999, some 200 farmers had gathered around the leadership of their founding General Manager Willington Wamayeye. And with the support of U.K.-based fair-trader / developer TWIN Trading, they were able to consolidate a functioning organization.  Since then, Gumutindo has expanded significantly in membership and capacity. They now boast a professional staff, team of agronomists, technicians and cuppers, as well as having constructed their own offices, warehouse, and sorting room.  Gumutindo has become an important motor for development in the Mount Elgon region, having revitalized its primary societies, increased the quality of coffee exports, instilled organic values and practices among its farmer members, and incorporated the voice of women in both its organizational and agricultural development. Appealing to the demands of specialty coffee markets, the coop analyzes and sorts all of its collected coffee according to quality, allowing importers to discern and select which coffees would best suit their market. Fair Trade has allowed the primary societies to build stores, offices, and a medical clinic for the village’s inhabitants. Gumutindo members hope to continue their growth through transparent and mutually beneficial trade partnerships:  “We seek to develop long term relationships based on mutual commitment and loyalty, with buyers who are ready to work with us as our farmer membership, coffee quality and volumes increase,” says Marketing and Exports Manager Lydia Nabulumbi.  Coop Coffees imported our first container of Gumutindo coffee in 2009. Since then, roasters have appreciated the consistent quality and healthy communication between organizations. And looking forward to our 2014 arrivals, we should be reaching our 500,000th pound mark.