Conflict as motivation for change: the case of Coffee farmers’ cooperatives in Moshi, Tanzania

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The policies of the Tanzanian government regarding cooperative societies have never been consistent, and frequent policy changes have shaken the foundation of these institutions, rendering farmers’ cooperatives unstable and unable to cope with the dynamics of production and a market environment. As a result, small-scale farmers have fallen victim to organisations whose leaders are corrupt, inexperienced in the management of their organisations, overly bureaucratic, and unable to assist farmers in production and marketing endeavours. In this context, members of cooperatives have had to deal with issues related to confl icts of interest. This paper explores why several rural primary cooperatives in Moshi, Tanzania, withdrew from the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperatives Union (KNCU) and formed an alternative organisation to produce and market their coffee. Data were obtained from oral histories, focus group discussions, case studies, and interviews, as well as a literature review. Both internal and external factors contributed to the change in coffee marketing in Moshi. These factors include confl icts among the members of the KNCU, the selfi shness of some leaders, changes in production and marketing policies, and externally imposed requirements for qualifying for loans from commercial banks. Although confl ict among the members of the KNCU has been longstanding and inevitable, not enough has been done to improve the performance of the KNCU and to increase the security of small-scale farmers engaged in coffee marketing.


Journal Article


KNCU, Coffee, Primary cooperatives, Cooperative union., Conflicts