Mubuku Moringa Vanilla Farmers Association
The organization joined efforts with the exporter and processor Ndali Estates who offered to partner with farmers while they sought access to better markets. This search for “a stable, reliable and honest” market for Ugandan vanilla farmers empowered them to pursue their economic and social development, leading them to seek their Fair Trade certification. Since becoming certified, Mubuku Vanilla Farmers have come a long way. They are now able to supply 16 metric tons of organic and Fair Trade Certified™ vanilla to international markets.
Despite great progress with Fair Trade certification, most farmers still face many issues –high poverty levels and low access to decent education. Uganda has one of the fastest growing populations in the world, but cannot keep up with adequate educational facilities. The recent global decline in vanilla prices also affected farmers with many unable to sell their vanilla. The production of a single crop for export in this extremely volatile world market leaves the vanilla farmers with very few options to react to changes in the market and take control of their lives.
As the demand for Fair Trade products continues to grow, the farmers of Mubuku Moringa hope to sell more Fair Trade Certified vanilla to better support the livelihoods of their families and community.
A vanilla farmer's story:
Mbusa Joesph, Chairman
Office Equipment and New Milling Machine
The Mubuku Vanilla Farmers Association invested in their office infrastructure – computers, a printer, desks, chairs and book cases. They also purchased and installed a new maize milling machine at one of their farming units to improve productivity.
Beekeeping As Additional Income
Farmers invested in four bee keeping projects at different Mubuku Vanilla units. The cooperative purchased bee hives and protective clothing and equipment, and provided training to members interested in pursuing this side project as an additional source of income.
Organic Farming Techniques
Farmers were trained to use organic farming techniques including composting and liquid manure, buffer zones, water management and soil erosion prevention methods.
Schools and Scholarships
The Mobuku Vanilla Farmers Association replaced the roof of a local school and provided specialist level academic scholarships for members. The association also sponsored a few key members' participation at the Fair Trade East Africa Expo to help farmers gain better market insight and network with fellow producers.