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B.C. Church Brews Partnership with Ugandan Coffee Growers

Members of Duncan (B.C.) Christian Reformed Church don’t drink just any coffee. They drink a brew worth waiting for—a brew they hope will make a difference in the lives of the Ugandan farmers who grow the coffee beans.

Member Dick Nagtegaal was instrumental in bringing a 7,000-pound shipment of green coffee beans from Uganda to Duncan. The beans were processed by two local coffee roasters, and Nagtegaal organized the sorting, weighing, grinding, and packaging of the coffee for delivery.

The coffee is “Direct Trade,” as opposed to “Fair Trade” because there is no middle buyer between the Ugandan farmers and their North American market.

The farmers hope to improve their $250 yearly wage so they can meet the nutritional, medical, and educational needs of their families.

Nagtegaal made the arrangements with Eric Smith, a field coordinator in northern Uganda for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, the CRC’s relief and development agency.

Smith was establishing the Nile Highland Arabica Coffee Farmers Association to help improve the business infrastructure, including purchasing of farm equipment, securing transportation, improving agricultural practices, and developing marketing and sales strategies for long-term sustainability.

Back in Duncan, the coffee is available for purchase by individual church members, churches, schools, and businesses.

“Currently I am working with some sugarcane and tea farmers, encouraging them to become part of the cooperative,” said Nagtegaal. “Don’t coffee, tea, and sugar usually go together?”

For more information, see www.relationshipcoffee.biz.


About the Author

Jenny deGroot is a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.

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