The North West Cooperative Association has been overseeing coffee production in the Northwest Region of Cameroon since 1950. The association, with its headquarters in Bamenda, is a union of seven coffee and cocoa unions. Membership is open to all coffee and cocoa producers in the region.
NCWA Ltd currently supports more than 35,000 farmers. They’re the single biggest producer of Arabica coffee in Cameroon. In 2015 they sold over 615 tonnes of Arabica and Robusta coffee.
The NWCA prides itself on producing the best organic coffee, most of which is sold to Europe. Its president, Mr. Timothy Waindim, credits the unique taste of their coffee to the high altitudes and fertile volcanic soils on which it is grown. They sell their brand of processed coffee, Kola Coffee, locally to consumers and online. Kola Coffee is made using coffee beans grown under kola nut trees. These trees protect the beans from sunlight and allow the coffee trees to absorb more nutrients by protecting the soil from erosion. Mr. Waindim says coffee beans grown under these conditions have a rich, bold taste.
As the country’s largest coffee union, the NWCA’s main activity is collecting, processing, and exporting coffee out of Cameroon. It also seeks out the best prices for their product, helping family-owned farms produce sustainably. Part of this includes innovation and training for all its members at the local and regional level. Inclusion is a top priority at the NWCA with much emphasis on encouraging female farmers to own and manage farms and play a role in the association.
One of the biggest challenges the organization faces is the fluctuation in the price of commodities. This has often hit farmers hard when they receive less for their crops on the international market. The NWCA fights this by training its members to diversify so they can spread their risk. Its loan schemes provide farmers with the support they need to increase production or open different businesses, some of them not related to coffee or cocoa.
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