Kilimanjaro Native Co-operative Union (KNCU)

To read all about KNCU, visit their website

Masama Mula primary society, KNCUThe many thousands of farmers who form the Kilimanjaro Native Co-operative Union are proudly a part of Africa’s oldest co-operative union on the foothills of Africa’s highest mountain.

The coffee ripens gently in the shade of banana trees and is harvested and processed carefully on family farms. KNCU has its own cupping laboratory and so knows the qualities of the coffees from the different communities and can discuss exact requirements with buyers.

Opportunities in education through the Fairtrade premium

The Fairtrade premium has enabled KNCU’s farmers to set up an Education Fund, to help cover school fees and ensure that children can complete their primary and secondary education.  KNCU provides over 400 secondary school grants each year.

The KNCU Health Plan

KNCU has pioneered a programme with SNV Dutch Foundation to bring affordable, sustainable healthcare to its members and improved facilities for local communities. Farmers pay a health insurance premium from their collective household coffee income.

The KNCU health plan covers maternity care, as well as common illnesses in Tanzania, such as malaria and typhoid; and chronic illnessses, such as diabetes, asthma and arthritis. In addition, to date 17 health centres and four hospitals have been refurbished.

An important part of the programme is grassroots involvement from local communities and education initiatives to raise awareness about the benefits of the plan, such as the play by the theatre group below.

Photo courtesy of KNCU
Image courtesy of KNCU

The pilot phase includes 100,000 people in 24 primary societies. It is expected to roll out to 375,000 people across all 92 primary societies by 2014.


KNCU owns and runs a cafe and hotel in Moshi and has a community-level tourism project – boosting investment in communities and offering visitors the chance to get to know how and who grows their favourite coffee.

Kilimanjaro Native Co-operative Union (1984) Ltd., Old Moshi Road Plot 33-34-1, 1st floor, KNCU Building, PO Box 3032, Moshi-Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Email: or

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