The shade tree Cordia Africana – the local names are Mukebu and Gukyigili. The shade tree has a root system which collects its nourishment deep underground, and therefore doesn’t compete with the coffee tree which has its roots in the top soil layers. The deciduous shade tree’s leaves and seeds will provide necessary nutrition for the coffee tree, besides giving shade to the tree. Measurements show that coffee trees that grow in the shade tree’s shadows can provide up to twice the volume as unshaded trees. This is often called “Forest Coffee”.
The shade trees are planted in small, open-ended plastic bags in fertile soil. They are carefully placed together in the shade. They’re watered every day, germinating after one week. After three months, these small trees can be transplanted, preferably during the wet season. Shade trees can contribute directly to the financial success of each farmer. Every shade tree provides shade for six coffee trees after growing for only four years. Without protection, each coffee tree produces about 1.5 kg of coffee annually. After four years in the shade, its harvest can increase from 6 kg to 12 kg. Even more important is the increase in the quality of the coffee and the size of the beans. In every orphanage in the area where our farmers work, we help the resident children learn gardening skills.They help care for our shade trees, earning money when we purchase the seedlings at three months old. The revenue this generates is put towards improving their school and education.