Why Gorilla Conservation Coffee is unique
High in the hills of the rain forests across south-west Uganda live approximately half of the estimated 1000 Mountain Gorillas alive on the planet today. These Gorillas live in the Bwindi Impenetrable forests of Uganda - a beautiful but also fragile natural habitat. These Gorilla family groups are a critically endangered species and that is why Gorilla Conservation Coffee exists!
It is also why Gorilla Coffee NZ exists! Gorilla Coffee NZ is simply a couple of Kiwi's who love Africa, who love Coffee and who want to be part of a solution that genuinely helps preserve the future of the planet.
Survival is the natural desire of every species on the planet, both man and animals. But when our lives are at stake, we all make decisions and we all take risks that seem convenient but often endanger the balance of life and impact on other species negatively.
This need for survival has in the past driven the Coffee farmers of western Uganda to seek alternative solutions to feeding and educating their families, particularly when the yield from their coffee plantations has been impacted by poor harvests, exploitation by middle men and low world prices. The simple solution for the impoverished communities which surround the National Parks of Uganda has been poaching, firewood collection and other activities which encroach upon the Gorillas natural habits, threatening the existence of these unique and rare primates.
Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (a Ugandan Wildlife Veterinary Doctor) established Gorilla Conservation Coffee (GCCoffee) as a social enterprise in direct partnership with Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), an award-winning grassroots NGO in Uganda. This was initially done with support from World Wide Fund for Nature, Switzerland.
Gorilla Conservation Coffee is the 1st Social Enterprise in Uganda dedicated to conserving the mountain gorillas by directly supporting farmers living around the gorillas’ habitat. GC Coffee understands that supporting these local farmers is the foundational step in protecting the endangered gorillas and their habitat. While this mountain habitat may appear lush and fertile it is actually fragile and vulnerable. Gorilla Conservation Coffee pays a premium (minimum of $0.50 USD per kilo) above the market price directly to the coffee farmers whose farms surround Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This intentional action of supporting the coffee farmers helps to protect the natural habitat of the gorillas and therefore directly assists with sustaining their survival in the future.
Support for the farmers goes way beyond simply paying more for the ripe cherries; it includes training in sustainable coffee farming, instruction in how to improve the quality of the coffee trees and input in how the quantity of production can be increased using sustainable, eco-friendly ways. In addition to the $0.50 USD/ kg of green beans paid directly to the Coffee farmers, an additional $0.25 USD /kg of green beans is also given to CTPH, Conservation Through Public Health, the complimentary Social Enterprise which works directly with the Ugandan people living arond Bwindi forest. These payments and donations have already been made by us, so every kilo of Coffee you purchase from us has already made its contribution back into saving Mountain Gorillas!
The census survey result published by the African Wildlife Foundation (shown on this website) shows that there has been an estimated increase in Gorilla numbers by almost 30% from a low point in 1997. This is great news reflecting incredible work by incredible people over many years. However, it does not mean that effort can now stop. The latest survey undertaken in 2018, indicated numbers have now passed the 1000 mark and are slowly climbing.
Gorilla Conservation Coffee is the only Social Enterprise in Uganda dedicated to conserving the mountain gorillas by directly supporting farmers living around the gorillas’ habitat.
Gorilla Coffee NZ is the only NZ company partnering to bring you not just fabulous coffee, but also an opportunity to directly contribute to saving these unique Mountain Gorillas.
Check out this link for a short video of Dr Gladys and her team at work preserving the lives of these amazing creatures.