Founded in the wake of the Tanzanian Cooperative Act of 2003, today the Iyenga AMCOS (Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society) has 193 registered members, and collects from just over 500 farmers. These are smallholders; most with 1-2 hectare farmers, and none with more than 5. Most members are within a short walk of the washing station, the furthest farm being 10km away. Still, during the harvest the group organizes trucks and motorbikes to pick up cherry and make sure that all is pulped within 8 hours of harvest. If you visit during the harvest you’ll find the pulper running from 4pm -8pm, right around sundown. It’s a government-granted Penagos UCBE 500, an eco-efficient machine that conserves water – which is critical in this area. Access to water is one of Iyenga’s biggest challenges, especially during the dry season. Conversations during the annual meetings include ideas for damming a local river or creating a rain-water reservoir.
Iyenga’s elected board has a reputation for capable management, as evidenced by their collection services and pulping standards. They have proven their ability to work towards long-term goals, and have taken on quality as their next objective.
And because of this, Iyenga is starting to build a name for themselves based on quality – in 2019 they won the Taste of Harvest Competition with their AA and PB coffees. One of our projects with them now is to expand drying bed capacity, a bottleneck in quality production, and necessary for our goal of increasing drying times.
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