You know our story: a conversation between a pastor and a farmer that turned into an ambitious project that still operates two decades later.
Our drive and our motivation hasn’t changed since day one.
Part of our responsibility is raising awareness to you, our loyal customer, on why we do this and how your contribution helps change lives by supporting families and growing futures.
So, let’s learn more about Mt. Meru and why Tanzanian coffee should be supported.
The Mt. Meru Coffee Project
“We grow coffee. You drink coffee. Would you buy your coffee from us?”
This is the power of a simple question delivered on a timely basis to the right person. This is the conversation a farmer and a pastor had which opened the doors of opportunity.
Who knew that this question would still have an impact on countless lives two decades after it was first asked?
In 1999 the partnership between the Greater Milwaukee Synod (GMS) of the ELCA and the Diocese of Meru of the ELCT began. This partnership was based on the agreement between the Mt. Meru farmers to produce coffee and for the GMS to act as the marketing and distribution arm.
In 2002, the GMS created a viable network of 50 participating congregations and distribute the coffee to them. This got the ball rolling and the project started generating income and creating profit. The proceeds were then put into the development of the Mt. Meru area to make coffee farming a more sustainable livelihood.
Equipment, training, and agricultural aid was then infused in the project in order to increase the production rate and yield.
However, the Mt. Meru Coffee Project didn’t just focus on the farming aspect of the business. We invested in the most important resource we had on hand: the people of Mt. Meru.
This is where our drive to change lives, grow futures, and support families comes in. Without strengthening the people involved in the process, the business architecture falls.
Changing Lives, Growing Futures, Supporting Families
The primary goal was to ensure that all of the farmers were fully equipped with the latest techniques and tools to assure a good yield every harvest period. We partnered with TaCRI (Tanzanian Coffee Research Institute) for the knowledge they could imbue our farmers with.
Each farmer depends on a tuition of $55 for a 3-day training session held in the TaCRI facility near Moshi. At the end of the training program, they receive a free cultivar plant, which is both insect and disease resistant. This 3-day training has long-lasting effects as knowledge is embedded into the minds of our farmers. They can pair their theoretical knowledge with their practical skills and lead successful lives.
More than two decades later, the Mt. Meru Coffee Project is still going strong.
Still supporting families.
Still growing futures.
And still changing lives.
How Tanzania’s Economy Benefits from the Mt. Meru Coffee Project
Coffee is Tanzania’s largest crop export. Annually, this accounts for 30,000 to 40,000 metric tons of coffee exported worldwide. That number is divided into 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta. Their biggest customers are Japan, Italy, and the U.S.
Coffee is the second most valuable agricultural product after tobacco. This means a decline in the demand would greatly impact Tanzania.
There was a time when coffee production was in danger due to the low buying price which prompted a lot of farmers to uproot their coffee plants and replace it with other crops. Thanks to the Fair Trade movement, coffee prices have been brought back up to global standards. Before this, coffee prices were handled by the International Coffee Organization.
Mt. Meru has added a significant contribution to this number. There are 265,000 hectares of farmland in the Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro area dedicated to growing Robusta and Arabica coffee which serves as the main livelihood of over 450,000 families.
The Project imports, roasts, packages and distributes the coffee grown by over 2,000 coffee farmers. An average of 8 to 12 tons of coffee per year - over 200 tons of coffee through 2020 has been imported. The Project has enabled farm families to have funds available to support local farm villages, markets, and merchants. This is improving the standard of living in the entire region
Think of all the jobs generated thanks to the increased demand in Tanzanian coffee because of your contribution or continued patronage of Mt. Meru Coffee Project’s products.
If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face when you lift that aromatic cup of coffee to your face in the morning, then we don’t know what will.
Supporting Families, Growing Futures, Changing Lives
Mt. Meru Coffee project started on the premise of helping. Although the initial assistance came in the form of creating a market so farmers could create profit and generate income, the helping hand extends further than the production of coffee and selling it.
We’re looking to make coffee production sustainable and scalable so that it will have a positive impact on the lives of the farmers and their families, not just today but also for their future.
With that in mind, we focus on the farmers first and make sure their skills are updated periodically to ensure they are meeting global standards and practices.
As mentioned above, we’ve partnered with TaCRI and enrolled our farmers in a 3-day training program at $55 per participant. Your donations help us send as many farmers to training as possible. Group trainings cost $1100.
A portion of our profit also goes into the education of their children. Tanzania has a compulsory education mandate for children until the age of 15. The income generated by our farmers helps extend their educational opportunities for their children.
We’ve also helped improve the agricultural facilities in the area to make coffee production more accessible to the farmers. This includes the farming implements, machinery, and other tools.
Last but not least, continuous improvement in the Mt. Meru area has led to better healthcare and sanitation facilities.
We’re still a long way from our target but every day, every dollar earned goes into Mt. Meru’s improvement.
Interested in helping? Here’s how:
Purchasing and drinking Mt. Meru Premium Tanzanian Coffee is the single most important way in which individuals, congregations and businesses can support thousands of family coffee farmers in Tanzania.
Purchase Mt. Meru Premium Coffee at our website, at your congregation, at select retailers (including Amazon), or Contact Us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-438-0122.
Mt Meru Premium Coffee is roasted every week in Milwaukee and then ground, packaged, and shipped from our facility at Martin Luther Lutheran Church - 9235 West Bluemound Road, Milwaukee WI 53226.
Asante Sana (Swahili = Thank you very much!)