Coffee and Rabbits Improve Income

“To be honest, this rabbit project is a godsend,” says young coffee farmer Benjamin.

Local partner and coffee buyer Mountain Harvest and participating coffee farmers have certainly revolutionized expectations for what is possible in the way of competing in the world coffee market. The company was established in 2017 to make it possible for farmers on Mount Elgon to bypass the commodity market and sell their coffee directly. The goal is to transform Uganda’s coffee supply chain through a model that improves the quality of life for smallholder farmers and supports healthy, thriving natural ecosystems on Mount Elgon.

Mountain Harvest staff works shoulder-to-shoulder with growers to optimize their farms and enhance their crops, and pays a higher, more stable price for the coffee. While growing and selling top-tier coffee is certainly helping, it still doesn’t always provide all the income families need, so, farmers are diversifying their income streams by growing beans and macadamia nut and avocado trees, keeping bees, and raising and selling rabbits.

Benjamin admits, “I always thought coffee farming wasn’t going to work for me. I felt it was a waste of my life to only work part of the year with nothing to do off season. Now I’ve got extra work that not only keeps me busy and interested but also brings in good money. I support my mother with coffee farming, and now keeping and selling rabbits is helping us improve our standard of living.”

Mountain Harvest started conducting training and demonstrations on rabbit keeping and management among six farmer groups that, by the end of 2023, involved 1,115 farmers who received a total of 2,900 rabbits. Local governments and various NGOs provide access to veterinary services and offer technical support. All partners have contributed to better rabbit management, increasing monthly productivity from two to four mature rabbits for sale.

Before beginning training and receiving his animals, Benjamin invested all his savings in building a rabbit house to satisfy the requirement of the program. Completely worth it, according to him: “We have so far sold off 30 rabbits and earned the same as what we’d get from selling 1,016 pounds of coffee.” He will use the extra income to buy cement to begin building a house for the family.

Uganda Mt. Elgon Program
Led by Lutheran World Relief and Local Partner Mountain Harvest

« Return