The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

08 November 2006

Beyond Fair Trade

Drinking fairly traded coffee is better than not, as more money flows back to the coffee producers. But here’s an African-led initiative where the profits are shared with producer communities.

The Rwenzori Coffee Company was founded in 2002 by Andrew Rugasira, a Ugandan entrepreneur. Andrew believes that Trade Not Aid is the best strategy for African economic and social development. Aid stifles creativity and results in crippling dependency, whilst trade provides opportunities for wealth creation and economic empowerment.

Rwenzori buys its Arabica coffee from a network of 10,000 coffee growers throughout Uganda and sells it under the GOOD African Coffee brand. “We recognise growers, employees, shareholders and the environment as primary stakeholders. Together they represent our quadruple bottom line.” Our farmers “are driven, smart and interested in generating economic opportunities and creating wealth by trading their coffee. We don’t just pay them a premium price, they haggle and fight for it, they deserve it and what’s more, it makes economic sense to pay it.”

Rwenzori shares its profits on a 50:50 basis with growers and their communities. It is supporting farmers to form producer organisations, giving them technology such as coffee pulpers, washing baskets and drying trays and providing training in best practices to improve the quality and profitability of their crops.

The community programmes supports orphanages, healthcare and education projects. Partners include Ssanyu Babies Home, Tender Mercies (Uganda), Save Africa's Children which runs 125 orphanages across Africa and community programmes organised by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Rwenzori is planning to open coffee houses in the UK as well as in Ugada and South Africa.

Rwenzori Coffee Company (Pty) Ltd
P.O. Box 1718, Kampala, Uganda

Distributed in the UK by LDH (La Doria) Ltd
519 North gate, Alconbury Airfield, Alconbury,Huntingdon PE28 4WX
Tel: 01480 424000


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