The Mpito Coffee Group is based in Mpito Village, in the Mbeya region of Southern Tanzania. The group was formed and officially registered in April 2009 and is made up of 47 farmer members from the neighbouring villages of Mpito, Isansa, Nansama and Lungwa. Mpito was established to collect and process cherry from members of the group, market the parchment once processed, and acquire better inputs via loans and purchases. Through interaction and exchanging ideas on how to increase production and to improve group members’ life standards, Mpito has utilised the efficiency of their production, improved the quality of their collective production through central processing and sourced better markets and prices for their coffees.
Mpito farmer members grow Bourbon at altitudes ranging from between 1550 and 1650 masl, and benefit from deep volcanic and slightly acidic soils, ideal for growing coffee. The majority of the group own between 1500 and 3500 trees, and average production is up around 1.9 kgs of cherry per tree, per year.
Together, the group utilise a centralised washing station used exclusively by the farmer members, producing exclusively fully-washed coffees. Timely picking and cherry selection are prioritised, both on the individual farms and at the washing station: Red ripe cherries are meticulously separated from the under ripe, over ripe, or defective beans, prior to delivery to the washing station, and are then floated to remove any light cherries before de-pulping. Processing utilises clean water, before the parchment is sun dried on raised beds. Parchment is then delivered to the Tembo dry mill in Mbeya for secondary processing. Mpito have been delivering parchment to Tembo for 4 years. Tembo is currently financing the group for inputs via a CAPEX loan, in order to help the development of the group.