We’ve recently received an update from Gumutindo, one of our producer partners in Uganda, whose growers suffered devastation due to vast mudslides on the evening of March 1st 2010. Emmanuel Wandega is the Information and Communications Manager and has told us:
“There no words to adequately describe the tragedy that befell some of our farmers.
We dispatched a team on 6th March 2010 to establish how many of our farmers have been affected in the village of Bumayoga and in what aspects. The purpose here was that instead of duplicating the kind of relief that Government and other relief agencies are giving the survivors (such as blankets and food), we want to identify specific needs of the affected individuals. We believe that our assistance should be of a medium to long term nature and should target the community as well as the individuals.”
We are in the process of discussing the assistance required by the Gumutindo growers and how we might work with them to acheive this. The Co-perative head office team are visiting two other local villages that were affected, Bukalasi and Konokoyi, after which we will have a fuller picture.
It is in the face of this type of disaster that the Cafédirect model of having long-term relationships with growers is so important and so relevant. Unlike most other companies, we don’t buy from a Fairtrade register or from middlemen at an auction, we buy directly from the growers. So we know the people we deal with and build strong relationships with them. When disasters like this happen and their crop is destroyed or they have difficulties getting their crop to transport links, we aim to understand how best we can work in partnership to support them through their recovery process.