In 1990, the Robinson-Mpunda family cleared forest on their land in Bara village, and planted coffee seedlings to begin their family owned coffee farm. They named the farm Sweet Unity.
Mshikamano Farmers Group was founded in 1996, when the family joined with 47 second and third generation coffee producers from the local area. Mshikamano means “working together” in Kiswahili - the Tanzanian national language. Today, the group stands at nearly 250 smallholder members.
The organisation was part of a break-away movement by coffee farmers from the Mbozi District Cooperative Union, which comprised hundreds of “Primary” cooperative societies. The Union was deemed to be too bureaucratic and administratively expensive to generate profits for individual farming families. The Tanzania Coffee Board was supportive of this movement, and granted operating licenses to small, village based organisations.
The objective and focus of MFG was and remains to secure better coffee prices for member families, to improve the organisation’s coffee quality and positively impact the quality of village life. The organisation strives to achieve these goals through the development of more direct marketing channels, improving the equipment and resources available to farmers, and educational development, both within the organisation and the general village community.
Since 2000, MFG has distributed solar electrical systems to members for home use. In 2002, the group established a Central Coffee Pulping facility, with a Penagos pulping machine.
In conjunction with an American organization - Books for Africa - MFG has distributed over 8,000 books in English and Kiswahili to 9 primary and secondary schools in the Mbozi District.
In 2014 MFG began to build a 120 seat multi-media education centre in Bara village to expand the community’s access to computers, projectors and educational films, both from East Africa and global educational resources.
MFG’s goals for 2018 and beyond are to:
- Strengthen both membership and leadership knowledge and use of cooperative management and operational methods.
- Produce greater quantities and better quality coffees from its central pulping operation
- Expand its financing and direct export capacities and partnerships
Mshikamano Farmers Group
Variety: Bourbon, Kent
Altitude: 975 masl
Cup Profile: Cherry, dark chocolate, caramel. Sweet with a medium body.
Cup Score: 84.5