Farm: GDM FARM
Varietal: Bourbon, Kent & Compact
Processing: Fully Washed & Sun dried
Altitude: 1400-1800 meters above sea level
Owner: Mr. Grivas D Mwangoka
Town / City: Mlowo
GDM Farm Blend - Tanzania
GDM Farm is named after its owner, Mr Grivas D Mwangoka; a local entrepreneur from the Mbozi district. Since the turn of the millennium, Mr Mwangoka has focused heavily on expanding his farm; adding over 19,000 new trees.
Born and raised in the village of Ndolezi, local entrepreneur Mr Grivas D Mwangoka has been working hard to expand his farm; improving the quality of coffee produced. Since the year 2000, GDM farm has grown by more than 19,000 trees, now totalling 81,000. In addition to coffee, GDM Farm is home to a selection of livestock, several shops, as well as housing the estates own dry mill; used by farms in the surrounding area. In the region, many grow maize, wheat and sorghum; amongst other cash crops. As well as providing a second source of income, produce such as maize provides useful by-products like mulch and later compost for the coffee trees; locking in moisture on the high sloped contour farms. Similarly, the primary fertiliser for many farms in the region is manure, mixed with small amounts of NPK (known as Yara Java).
GDM Farm provides work to roughly 70 people in the low season and some 300 in the harvesting season. Workers and pickers come from the surrounding villages, offering income and opportunity to men and women both skilled and unskilled. The majority of the staff is hired for seasonal labour – particularly during the harvest but also for pruning and other seasonal activities. Pruning is primarily conducted after the harvest season, to remove weak or unhealthy branches. When a coffee tree is no longer producing its desired quota, the tree will be cut right back and stumped; focusing on one side to allow new shoots to grow from the other. Primary varieties include Bourbon, Kent and Compact, with coffee seedlings and seeds distributed and recommended by TaCRI (Tanzania Coffee Research Institute).
When it is time to harvest, Coffee cherry is selectively handpicked over two passes; only picking the reddest cherries on the tree. To cover the 6 kilometres to the Central Processing Unit (CPU), Mr Mwangoka used a 3 MT truck to kart coffee from the field to the wet mill. Once the cherry has been delivered, the process begins by separating any under/ overripe cherry, along with any foreign matter such as sticks or gravel. Next, the cherry is soaked in water to clean off any dirt or unwanted residue. The cherry is then pulped using a Pengagose Eco Pulper to remove the outer layer of fruit, as well as the coffee mucilage; meaning no fermentation. Once pulping is complete, beans are washed and sorted using cool clean water via the washing channels; before being transferred onto raised beds to dry. Beans are spread across the raised beds and turned regularly for an even dry. The process of drying will typically take anywhere between 12 to 20 days; with beans only removed once the moisture content has reached 11.5% or lower.
One of the primary challenges facing GDM is the high cost of inputs needed to farm the land, making the cost of production expensive. Combined with the low market price for coffee, coffee farming in the region is becoming unprofitable. Besides the difficulties relating to the cost of farming, the farm is also facing a new battle; brought on by climate change. With inadequate rains and longer dry days, reducing yield is now exacerbating existing challenges facing the farm and the wider community. To combat this, Mr Mwangoka has plans in place to establish a new irrigation system, to collect rainwater and reuse during droughts. With this, GDM Farm will also be able to increase their output; meaning in time, Mr Mwangoka plans to improve the CPU, as well as his quality production system (coffee quality and traceability). Although looking to expand, 40% of GDM remains under conservation. Mr Mwangoka also plays an important role in the community; supporting local schools close to the farm, providing lunch and books for students.