TOGETHER FOR A BETTER LIFE

It is early in the morning and the winding gravel road that we have been travelling for about an hour is coming to an end. The sun is shining and a warm breeze is sweeping over the green, billowing mountain slopes. After a short walk down the hillside, we get to Emanuel and Jeni Wilson, two young coffee farmers in Igale in southwest Tanzania.

- The coffee farm means everything to us. The dream is to get even more land to farm, says Emanuel.

Emanuel and Jeni, who are 30 years old, are two of the participants in Next Generation Coffee, the Löfbergs Coffee Group’s investment in the next generation of coffee farmers. We are improving the development possibilities through education and direct trade at the same time as we are securing the supply of good coffee in the future.

- Knowledge is power and makes us succeed. Your support helps us create a better life, says Jeni.

Work and plan together
Emanuel and Jeni started farming coffee twelve years ago. They inherited the land from Emanuel’s father. Today, they are living in a small house together with their son and Emanuel’s little sister.

On a regular day, they get up at 6.30 am and eat breakfast together before they walk down the small track to their coffee farm. Together is a key word for Emanuel and Jeni. They plan, work and make every decision together.

- Much of the education and seminars are carried out in pairs. It has made us more equal, both when it comes to domestic chores and the work on the coffee farm, says Jeni.

Emanuel adds that they are budgeting and deciding on which investments to make together.

- Working together has made us stronger. We have increased our productivity and we are making more money.

Role models
In Tanzania, our training is arranged through International Coffee Partners, a non-profit organization that Löfbergs co-founded in 2001. Emanuel, Jeni and the other participants get to learn more about farming methods and what to do to meet climate change, but also about gender equality and entrepreneurship.

- We devote a lot of energy on making the farmers more business-oriented, to make them see themselves as family entrepreneurs rather than farmers, says Webster Miyanda, who is one of the educators.

He tells us that Emanuel and Jeni have used their new knowledge in the best way possible and that they are role models for other participants. When we see their coffee farm, we understand what he means. It is green and lush, and the coffee bushes are tall and full of coffee cherries.

Emanuel and Jeni have built a water irrigation system and use shade trees to protect the farm from the strong sunlight. We can see cover crops on the ground that bind the soil and stop nutrients from washing away during heavy rain.

- A perfect farm, says Webster.

Climate change
Just as for other coffee farmers, the climate change is a great challenge. It is important to adapt the farm and minimize the risks. It is about using shade trees and cover crops, but also to plant new resistant coffee trees that better can stand pest infestations and diseases. Emanuel and Jeni have done really well with this.

-          The knowledge we have now has made our farm better. The proceeds have increased and we can reduce the use of pesticides, which cost a lot of money, says Emanuel.

Hopeful
We walk back to Emanuel and Jeni’s house and sit down by the low wooden table in the living room. They tell us about their dreams. They laugh and their eyes sparkle. There is no doubt that they are optimistic about the future.

- Without your support, we would probably have moved into the city, where life is much tougher. We have friends that have moved, and they have not done as well as we have, says Jeni.

- We invest the money we make in our farm, and we will soon be able to buy more land. We will also be able to give our son a great education. He will learn a lot that will be useful if he chooses to farm coffee, and we hope that he does. Preferably, together with us, says Emanuel.

tanzaniasofia Svahn