Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Kenya’s Coffee Supply Chain

Millions of cups of coffee are consumed in the world everyday, often at a luxury price point, but the people who produce the coffee are not compensated in kind. This creates a cycle of poverty and a ceiling that needs to be shattered. Harambean Margaret Nyamumbo decided she was the right African woman entrepreneur for the job and is creating real change in the lives of Kenyan women.

“Distinctive Kenyan coffee and better supply chains, allowing farmers to earn a sustainable income.”


THE CHALLENGE. Glaring inequalities existed in Kenya’s coffee supply chain, with farmers receiving prices below their cost of production from the middleman, which is the source of poverty to most agrarians and particularly the women. African women provide 89% of farm labor but own only 1% of land.

THE PROCESS. The first step was to create an ethical company that would safeguard the interests of Kenyan women and coffee laborers. As an African woman entrepreneur, Nyamumbo founded Kahawa1893, a company committed to sharing the rich distinctive Kenyan coffee with the world through an optimised supply chain. The company dedicates 25% of its profits to support access to credit for Kenyan women so they can participate in trade and empower themselves financially.

THE RESULT. A more inclusive coffee supply chain is now enriching the lives of Kenyan women who are working in the coffee industry. Local organizations such as the Moromba Co-operative Women’s Fund are being leveraged as a result of Kahawa1893’s success. The flow of profits into local groups and directly into the hands of coffee laborers is just what was needed to start breaking the cycle of poverty and enabling room for growth. The other result? A beautiful cup of Kenyan coffee that is making the entire country proud.


Kahawa1893 currently works with a group of co-operatives to help agrarians in rural Kenya access global markets. Kahawa allocates 25% profits to supporting women that make this rich Kenyan commodity accessible to the rest of the world, building a more inclusive coffee supply chain in Africa to empower women in particular.


An African Woman Entrepreneur Success Story

Nyamumbo is a coffee lover, a successful African woman entrepreneur, a MBA from the Harvard Business School, and now Founder & CEO at Kahawa1893. Born and raised in the western highlands of Kenya, to a coffee growing family, Nyamumbo’s fond memories of helping her mom pick ripe coffee berries on the farm were to later inspire her to venture into the coffee business in order to share Kenya’s rich coffee heritage with the rest of the world.

Nyamumbo wanted to rectify the glaring inequalities in the supply chain and farmers receiving prices below their cost of production from the middleman, which is the source of poverty to most agrarians. She will be leveraging her success with Kahawa1893 and will be utilizing blockchain technology as a means to revolutionize the way coffee is traded so that farmers can be even more fairly compensated.

“The way coffee is traded is outdated, it hasn’t changed in over 200 years, and it does not reflect the progress we have made towards racial and gender equality.”

Nyamumbo wants to build a more inclusive coffee supply chain in Africa to empower women. To ensure that the women who produce this highly-valued coffee have access to the financial rewards from those efforts, and improve gender equality in the East African coffee supply chain.


Margaret Nyamumbo believes it is a privilege to be a Harambean:
“Harambe gave me access to a pool of world class African entrepreneurs, something that helps professionals like myself discover deeper insights and more relevant connections to advance our products and services.”
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