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It is hard to imagine that something as simple as cow poop can change society, but that’s the key message Rotarian Jamie Kyles shared with the Rotary Club of Kingston.
 
Kyles, a retired Victoria BC “oilman”, has been working with an African NGO, the KOPLING Society of Tanzania, a lay apostolate within the Catholic Church.  KST is the marketing arm for poor coffee farmers in the country. Jamie Kyles Rotary supported project is called KOLCAFE 2 and is centred in Northwest Tanzania in the village of Kigazi, near Bukoba on the shores of Lake Victoria. For the past three years, he has been putting together a Rotary Global Grant to expand the project.
 
When Kyles began, the 150 coffee farmers who came to hear him were divided and didn’t believe him even with the support of a local agriculture expert. “They were simply ‘in survival mode trying to scrape by on 60 cents a day for a family of five,” Kyles said.
 
Because local subsistence farmers didn’t cooperate, Kyles knew something they didn’t. There were among them a couple of growers whose coffee plants yields were 3 or 4 times greater than the average yield of 2 kg per plant.
 
Using that knowledge and Rotary donations Jamie developed a four-pronged approach:
  • Buy and truck in lots of manure
  • Supply hand tools to process the manure
  • Get pruning tools for the coffee bushes
  • Build raised drying beds for the coffee

The KOLCAFE Project

A typical Coffee Plant before Kolcafe
A typical Coffee Plant after Kolcafe
A composting mound of manure and leaves
A drying screen
 
Without the project, the value of the coffee produced in 2019 would have been USD $154,000. With the project, the actual value was USD $347,000, or about a 500% increase.
 
 
“By the end of the second year,” Kyles said, “The farmers had gained “financial traction” and were working together and picking up 99% of the cost of continuing the project.” This he said, “Is my definition of sustainability.”
 
Besides the money and greater yields, Kyles listed other benefits to the community:
  • A decrease of 50% in domestic violence for women,
  • New roofs on many houses,
  • Several orphans adopted,
  • Improved nutrition and
  • More children attending school.

Listen and View Jamie Kyles Presentation