Tanzania Tanzania
placeBukoba, Tanzania


  • unites over 100,000 families of coffee producers
  • umbrella organisation committed to organic certification of its member cooperatives
  • sells robusta and instant coffee directly to Oxfam
Tanzania Tanzania

Fair-trade coffee benefits the entire community in Tanzania

Kagera Co-Operative Union, or KCU for short, is an umbrella organisation that unites coffee cooperatives in the region surrounding Tanzanian Lake Victoria. Over 100,000 farming families sell their fair-trade coffee via this route.

Fair trade allows these communities to invest in projects that are beneficial to all. Like field hospitals, schools and better roads, for example. Such progress motivates the coffee farmers of KCU to remain loyal to this big cooperative.

Farmers processing their own coffee

The farmers of the Tanzanian KCU cooperative produce robusta coffee, both organic and non-organic. A part of this is processed on location to create instant coffee. This takes place at the TANICA factory, more than half of which is in the hands of the KCU’s members. This means an increased revenue in the country of origin.

TANICA sells a portion of this certified-fair-trade coffee in its own country, but most of it is sold overseas. Oxfam Fair Trade’s instant coffee also comes directly from this Tanzanian factory.

I was able to follow higher-level education thanks to the cooperative and the good price that my parents get for their coffee. That’s how I managed to become export manager at the KCU cooperative. Now I can give something back to the community.

Josephat Katabaro, export manager at KCU

Fair trade leads to ecological sustainability

To help combat climate change, among other reasons, KCU is committed to making its constituent cooperatives certified organic. In 2015, the Oxfam-Wereldwinkels Partner Fund (info in Dutch) invested in the certification programme for 20 cooperatives.

In addition to this, KCU is also distributing more fuel-efficient cook stoves among the coffee farmers. This should result in less deforestation in the region of Bukoba, which should in turn help to limit the consequences of climate change in Tanzania.

KCU & Oxfam

  • KCU and Oxfam go way back. We’ve been buying their Tanzanian robusta coffee since 1990.
  • Although KCU has existed since 1984 and is established, partners like Oxfam Fair Trade remain indispensable for this umbrella organisation. Thanks to long-term contracts, they are able to make good estimates of how much coffee they will be able to sell. This enables their farmers to know in advance how much coffee they can deliver. This certainty means they don’t have to sell their coffee at absurdly low prices to the dishonest buyers active in the region. They resell those coffees back on international markets.