Marta Cortés

Silas Makume
Sustainability Manager at Kaweri Coffee Plantation, Uganda

How did you first hear about the farm? Since when do you work there?

I first heard about Kaweri through a friend of mine, who got employed there during land preparation end of 2001.
I, myself, work at the farm since March 2007.

What does it mean to you to work within sustainability?

To me, it‘s enlightening in many ways:
As an entrepreneur, I find it most interesting to always strive for a balance between social, economic and environmental topics. I wouldn’t like to only focus on one aspect.

So personally, if today I’d choose to grow coffee as own business – all three aspects of sustainability would be my priority.

What do you like most about your job? Which area of sustainability do you find most interesting and Why?

I love two things about my job:
It gives me room for developing new initiatives in our sustainability concept, since it’s challenging and inspiring at the same time. Also, I really like to share my experience and exchange with others  in matters related to sustainability.

Personally, I really like to work with people. Robusta coffee growing requires a lot of manpower, especially during picking.

How important are the sustainability efforts of the farm for the region and Why?

From an economic point of view, Kaweri has employed, trained and also empowered many families in modern Robusta farming. Kaweri has e.g. supplied hundred-thousands quality plantlets to smallholder farmers and thereby strives to support Ugandan people and our national coffee industry.

From an environmental perspective, the farm has conserved 592 ha. That is to say: 24% of its land is untouched forest with thousands of plant species and animals.

Socially and based on our corporate responsibility, the farm has implemented various village support initiatives: Amongst others, we have provided clean drinking water boreholes; we’ve supported to build roads and I think we do a good job with our youth trainings.

I am sure that our efforts can serve as a great example for others.

How is your sustainability team set up? What are your main tasks?

At Kaweri, sustainability is anchored at different levels. Our Managing Director is closely involved. We have a cross-functional setup: I work under the heads of department for Agronomy, Processing and Engineering, Finance and Administration. In the day-to-day business, I work directly with the Farm Section Managers for Agronomy, Mills, Security and Administration.

My main task is to ensure the implementation and compliance of  standards, to organize various trainings, to carry out risk assessments, to liaise with neighboring communities and to consult with the different heads of department and our Managing Director.