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Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Union, or ACPCU / ankole for short, are a secondary cooperative covering a large area across southwestern Uganda.
Founded in 2006, with 10 cooperatives ACPCU has grown from tiny beginnings to encompass more than 12,000 members covering 25 primary cooperatives. They produce Canephora and Arabica, including speciality robusta grades, certified coffees and more.
Their multi ethnic approach is inclusive and they say
“We speak different languages, but we share a common voice: working together as progressive, forward-thinking farmers to market our coffee and to improve our livelihoods.”
Education forms a significant focus of the Fairtrade premiums earned, with close to 40% of them going towards education and educational projects. This includes sponsoring children from the member co-ops to tertiary level, as well as investing in the schools themselves to make them viable. Water harvesting facilities, solar power and classroom construction have all been part of this. One school even has a small coffee farm attached to it as a way of continuing to generate funds!
Other projects have included creating a coffee nursery for distribution of seedlings for healthier trees, providing tools and proper training, and engaging with women and teh next generation to create a family farming unit to ensure the future of the farms.