About Us

Organization Kagera Cooperative Union(KCU Ltd)
Country Tanzania
Product Coffee
Excellence experience The fair trade experience since 1990 to date
Author John Kanjagaile

The reality of KCU

It is the union of 125 primary co-operative societies, scartered within districts of Bukoba.Muleba and Misenye in Kagera region,north west of Tanzania(west of lake Victoria).

Each primary society is owned by about 500 small coffee producers.Kagera Cooperative Union Ltd therefore has about 60000 members for primary society to be member to KCU Ltd it has to own shares in KCU.



Each primary co-operatve society has about nine committee members,and two representantives to the KCU General assembly which convenes twice a year- this is the supreme body for KCU Ltd decision making.

Primary cooperative societies also hold general assemblies before each assembly of the union.







KCU members at General Assembly


Since its establishment in 1950, Kagera Co-operative Union Ltd members mobilized themselves to market their own cofee.Their marketing had till 1990 always ended at auction,previously at mombasa port of Kenya,and later at Moshi in Tanzania;where cofee exporters gather to bid for different cofee lots.

Our cooperative movement has since then changed shape at different stages,but always maintaining the same goal,services to its members and long term plan of self sufficiency in marketing own crop.

Our connection to the fair trade partners in 1990 was stone to our new error of diret connection to the consumer community.






Bilabo Primary Cooperative Society meeting in Muleba District


How it all started

How KCU Ltd traded in cofee before and after 1990:

  • Coffee was collected at the primary society;this is where KCU Ltd transported it from,to the processing plant,before railage to the port of exit.
  • Samples were picked at the port and presented to Tanzania Cofee Board for auctioning
  • For the farmers under KCU Ltd,knowledge of where  coffee goes usually ended at the auction point
  • The  visit to KCU Ltd by fair trade original in 1990,(by then known as S.O.S wereldhandel) stimulated an idea of KCU involvement in direct coffee exports.
  • This visit  came at a time when prices were disappointingly low due to the collapse of the international coffee Agreement(ICA) in 1989
  • It is at the same moment that the government was disassociating her self from coffee prime setting for farmers
  • The coffee coperative movement which where not linked  to the fair trade system  collapsed  with these changes mainly because they could not recover production costs from the conventional prices they receive form the market.
  • Those linked to the fair trade system survived mainly because what they shipped to the market  fetched at least the fair trade minimum price with which one can easily recover costs of production

KCU board members