Iyenga Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (Iyenga AMCOS) was registered in 2003 under the Tanzanian cooperative act. The cooperative deals only with coffee and collects from more than 500 farmers within the Mbeya region. Of these 500 farmers, only around 191 are registered members of the cooperative.
Iyenga AMCOS is known within the region as very well-organised. Leaders come into power through democratic election: all farmers who are members of the cooperative have right to vote for the person they’d like to be in power, and every farmer has the right to contend for a board member position. Group leaders encourage women and young people to participate in coffee agriculture activities and in all cooperative activities. When the group first registered, there were only 64 members, all of whom were male. Now, of the group’s 193 members, 17 are female!
All the farmers in Iyenga village are very small scale and grow coffee on 5 hectares or less. In addition to coffee, many grow maize, peanuts and beans. The majority of farmers often keep one or two cows and some poultry, as well.
In 2010, the government granted the Iyenga Cooperative a Central Processing Unit machine – a Penagos UCBE 500 – which has enabled the Cooperative to improve their processing efficiency while using less water.
The specs of the coffee
Farm: Iyenga Agricultural Marketing Cooperative and Society
Varietal(s): Kent, Bourbon, N39 & other local varieties
Processing: Fully washed & sun dried on African beds
Altitude: 1670 to 1950 metres above sea level
Owner: Various smallholder farmers
Town: Iyenga town, Mbozi District
Total size of farm: Less than 5 hectares on average
Harvesting and Processing
This lot from Iyenga AMCOS is a mix of home processed and mill pulped coffees. In both cases, all coffee is hand harvested and pre-sorted before pulping.
Most farms are located quite near the mill, with the closest being only 300 metres away and the furthest 10 kilometres. In order to ensure that the coffee arrives at the mill in a timely fashion, the Cooperative has developed a shunting/ transportation system to collect coffee from all farmers who are either far from the wet mill or produce a large volume. Iyenga hires cars and motorbikes which go to visit farmers who have notified leaders in advance that they are harvesting that day. A secretary is appointed during the harvest season to arrange hunting logistics. This system has enabled the Cooperative to have more control over the quality of the cherry and pulped coffee that arrives at the mill.
Iyenga Cooperative members ensure the soil remains fertile by adopting the best agricultural practices, upon which they are advised by the cooperative. These practices include preventing soil erosion through dual cropping, using mulching materials and applying compost on a regular basis at optimal times. Farmers tend to use manure from their own cows and composted coffee pulp, but some also use other fertilizers, though sparingly
In the cup expect oolong tea, grapefruit and winey flavours with a medium-low citrus acidity and full-chewy body.
View our full coffee offering here.