The coffee brand that began as a small scale family owned farm.
In January 1989 David Robinson, son of Jack and Rachel Robinson, sought land in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania on which to establish his family’s farm. David, his family and neighbors began to clear forest and plant coffee seedlings for the Robinson family farm. The feelings generated from working closely with family and neighbors inspired David to name the farm: Sweet Unity.
In 1994 the Robinson family helped form Mshikamano Farmers Group, a cooperative of neighboring family owned farms. In the national language of Tanzania, Kiswahili, Mshikamano means “Working together”. Without farmers organizations each family is isolated and excluded from the opportunity to participate in the international coffee trade where developmental incomes can be earned. The United Republic of Tanzania grows on average 100 million pounds of coffee annually. 90% of this coffee comes from 450,000 small scale family owned farms with less than 5 acres of land under cultivation.
In the year 2000, the price on the world market for coffee began to crash downward below the cost of production. In response to this market collapse and historic low prices paid to farmers, the Robinson family and Mshikamano Farmers Group concluded that the creation of a retail coffee brand offered a potential to change the conditions of poverty and underdevelopment faced by rural farmers.
Our “farm to cup” structure helps farmers earn more and strengthens the community.
We were able to aid in the construction of a 120-seat solar-powered education center. Here, students and adults have access to educational materials, as well as technical equipment. Sweet Unity Farms will continue to work with its co-ops to develop educational programs in coffee farming communities as a foundation for sustainable coffee excellence, enhanced human capacity and farmer integration into the global coffee industry.
Direct trade in the coffee industry is a business model where farmers sell their coffee directly to international coffee partners such as coffee roasters and marketers without the loss of income created by transactions through 2-4 middlemen. Sweet Unity Farms Coffee positioned itself and has worked to build a vertically integrated business and social model of direct trade between farmers and the international coffee industry.
Above and beyond better than Fair Trade cash payments to farmers, Sweet Unity Farms continues to invest in infrastructure and quality of life facilities for partnering rural communities