Template:Inappropriate tone Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU) is the oldest cooperative in Africa, founded in 1930 by Charles Dundas. One of the largest cooperatives, it is owned by the farmers of the 90 primary cooperative societies which buy coffee from the farmers on Kilimanjaro.
KNCU flourished in the 1950's and 1960's and the motor for much of the development of Kilimanjaro region. In 1977 it was nationalised by the government. This act was reversed in 1984 when KNCU became independent again although subject to government control of their buying and marketing. Since then, the primary co-operatives and their union have gradually won back their independence. The liberalisation of the coffee industry in 1993/4 saw private companies competing with the cooperatives to buy the coffee of their members. Many cooperatives in Tanzania died. KNCU initially lost 80% of its market and struggled for four years. However since 1998, it has steadily won back market share and is now by far the largest buyer of Kilimanjaro smallholder coffee. KNCU has also worked closely with the Fair Trade movement. It supplies the coffee for the Fair Trade Certified Kilimanjaro Roasted Coffee from 'Cafe Direct'.