Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Joseph Nkandu was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
By unlocking opportunities for farmers to engage at higher levels of the value chain, Joseph is not only increasing their incomes but challenging and reshaping the power relations in this industry. Redefining the role of farmer organizations and transforming them from mere organizational buyers of produce to partners who help farmers increase the value they receive from coffee sales, coffee processors are introduced to a new win-win relationship with farmers. Instead of buying raw produce from farmers at low prices to resell, they offer their expertise and facilities to farmers for a fee. In doing so, processors enjoy higher operational capacity and increased revenue. This value addition also allows farmers to retain ownership of a more valuable form of coffee which earns a higher return on the market.

“Farmer ownership” is at the core of this role—reestablishing architecture. Joseph believes farmers can only be fairly compensated for their participation in the sector by tapping into the market value that is retained at the top of the value chain. The principle of equitably sharing work and value across the value chain underlines the entire model. He has taken this principle and the farmer ownership approach as a basis for advocacy work at a national, regional, and international level and succeeded in having the National Coffee Policy established in Uganda. Over the last ten years Joseph has demonstrated the life changing impact of the farmer ownership model, through a national level organization of over 600,000 farmers. He has spread the principles behind his work through publications and manuals to influence the regulation, management, and governance of regional farmer organizations.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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