Nambala Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society was originally formed in 2007. The co-op deals primarily in coffee and maize, combining produce from 287 members within the district of Songwe. The majority of farmers keep one or two pigs, cows and some poultry to support their income and provide sustenance - the primary fertiliser for many farms is manure from livestock.
This lot is primarily made from home processed coffee, with cherry hand-harvested and pre-sorted before pulping. The coffee cherry is selectively handpicked by the family at each farm. Once the day of picking is complete, processing will begin by separating out any under/overripe cherries. Next, the coffee is pulped using a hand pulper to remove the outer layer of fruit. Typically, the cherries are picked, sorted and pulped all in the same day; with processing conducted in the evening.
One of the primary challenges facing the group is the high cost of inputs needed to farm the land, making production expensive. Combined with the low market price for coffee, farming in the region is becoming unprofitable. Because of this, the group has to take out loans from banks to cover the cost of production, which in turn reduces income. Along with the difficulties relating to the cost of farming, the association is also facing a new battle brought on by climate change. With inadequate rains and longer dry days, reduced yield is now exacerbating existing challenges for Nambala AMCOS and their wider community.