HEAVY TEA DRINKERS OPEN UP TO COFFEE

Profile:
Mzuzu Coffee Planters Co-operative Union
Product focus: Coffee
Location: Mzuzu, Malawi

Type: Small producer – 2652 farmers
Fairtrade certificate since: 2009
Contact: Lovemore Pemba –
lovepemba@mzuzucoffee.org

Challenge

To diversify their income Mzuzu decided to introduce their own coffee brand to the Malawi market. The increased revenues would help meet operational costs. Malawians are predominantly tea drinkers so Mzuzu was aware they were embarking on a risky venture. But the organisation also spotted potential opportunities. The Malawian market was flooded with a variety of teas and instant coffee, but pure coffee was totally lacking. If filtered coffee was available, the local population could hardly afford it.

Solution

Mzuzu built a processing plant comprising of two roasters and two grinding mills. They also bought electrical sealing machines to seal the packets ready for the market. They name their brand Mzuzu Specialty Coffee and they have launched two types of coffee: grounded and packed beans. The grounded coffees are being packed in four sizes: 1kg, 500g, 250g and 80g – standing out in their golden packs. Consumers can buy the roasted beans in silver packs of 500g and 250g. With all their coffee beans Fairtrade certified, they are currently undergoing the artwork processes to have the FAIRTRADE Mark on their brand and sell officially under Fairtrade terms.

Costs

The cooperative used some of its own funds to start up the process. In addition the European Economic Commission and the European Union also contributed to the project. For more information on costs, please contact Lovemore Pemba- lovepemba@mzuzucoffee.org.

Results

Country-wide sales are still small but increasing. The mindset of consumers that coffee is for the rich is slowly fading. As a next step Mzuzu plans to export its coffee to other Southern African countries. It’s the dream of producers to later supply African and even other international markets. Plans are already underway to automate the production chain and introduce other brands.