Mere by Monica Galetti raises funds to help East African farmers

Farm  Africa

Farm Africa

Premium Supplier 18th April 2019

Mere by Monica Galetti raises funds to help East African farmers

Mere by Monica Galetti in London’s Fitzrovia is one of six fine dining restaurants currently inviting diners to donate £1 per head to Farm Africa’s Coffee is Life appeal.

The appeal, which runs until 8 May 2019, is raising funds to help farmers in eastern Africa run profitable businesses.
The UK Government will match all donations from the UK public. Donations will support Farm Africa projects across eastern Africa, and the matched funding unlocked from the UK government will directly fund a Farm Africa project that will give women like Jennifer in Kanungu in western Uganda the opportunity to make a decent living from coffee farming.

Jennifer is a coffee farmer and devoted aunt, who cares for the three children of her deceased sister in a house built from mud. She looks up nervously as the rain hammers down on her roof.

“When it rains heavily mud drops from the walls. The walls could collapse. Yesterday, there was a heavy downpour, we were scared.”

A myriad of decorations adorn Jennifer’s ceiling and newspaper cuttings are stuck to her walls. These decorations don’t just beautify the house, they serve a practical purpose.

“My walls are covered in newspaper to catch the mud and soil when it rains.”

A brick house would provide the family with a safe place to live.

“I would like to buy a new house, bricks are permanent and are more resilient to shocks and bad weather.”
Financially, a brick house isn’t an option at the moment. Jennifer is reliant on the proceeds from her two-acre coffee and banana farm. The money she earns isn’t enough to pay for school fees and food, let alone a new house.

A lack of finance, agricultural knowledge and support has meant that Jennifer’s coffee yields have fallen in recent years.

“When my yields dropped, so did the price of coffee. I started losing money. I almost made the decision to cut down my coffee trees.”

Farm Africa is working to help coffee farmers like Jennifer earn more from their efforts by providing training in agricultural techniques such as pruning, spacing and weed control that help farmers to sustainably boost yields and improve the quality of their coffee.

By improving coffee quality, Jennifer will be able to become a certified farmer, earning her access to a more lucrative and stable market.

With the matched funding from the UK government for Farm Africa’s Coffee is Life appeal, Farm Africa will expand our work in western Uganda to give 2,000 female coffee farmers like Jennifer the support they need to thrive in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry.

The project will upskill the staff of four agricultural cooperatives and train women to occupy positions of responsibility within them, teaching women how to properly trade and process coffee as well as fundamental business skills.
In Uganda, women provide the bulk of the agricultural labour but rarely occupy positions of responsibility within agribusinesses or cooperatives.

The Coffee is Life appeal will help women break the coffee sector’s glass ceiling and unleash their potential to push forward one of Uganda’s most important industries, enabling women like Jennifer to build brick houses and financial security.

The other restaurants supporting Farm Africa’s Coffee is Life appeal are Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Knightsbridge, London, The Greenhouse in Mayfair, London, Moor Hall in Aughton, Lancashire, L’Ortolan in Reading, Berkshire and Salt by Paul Foster in Stratford-upon-Avon.