Realising the potential of coffee in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Farm  Africa

Farm Africa

Premium Supplier 20th February 2020

Realising the potential of coffee in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Photos: Carl de Keyzer / Magnum Photos for the Virunga Foundation

Unknown until a decade ago, Kivu Arabicas are starting to become established on the global speciality coffee map. Now there is an opportunity to discover these coffees through a partnership between coffee farmers, Farm Africa and the Virunga National park.

Amid outbursts of conflict, the extraordinary landscape of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo produces raw coffee beans with spectacular potential, while the Virunga National Park provides a vital refuge for endangered animals including the mountain gorilla.

Up until now, poor farming practices, processing and lack of access to markets have limited sales and kept growers’ incomes low. Driven by necessity to earn a living, farmers are damaging the park’s precious habitat by cutting down trees for charcoal production.

Farm Africa’s Virunga National Park’s Coffee Project is working to help farmers realise the potential of their coffee.

By working with two coffee cooperatives, they are boosting the livelihoods of more than 7,000 coffee farming families living on the border of the Virunga National Park, with the goal to reduce the pressure on the park’s resources and lift people out of poverty.

The project takes a holistic approach to farming. From farm management to processing and business systems, farmers are supported to improve the quality and quantity of their coffee as well as how to build a strong profile and presence in international markets.

Alongside training, Farm Africa and the Virunga National Park have upgraded washing stations and will install cupping labs, where coffee farmers will be trained on how to evaluate the quality of their beans.

Internal control systems are also being strengthened to ensure complete traceability and that Fairtrade and organic certifications requirements are met.

Find out more about Farm Africa’s project here: www.farmafrica.org/dr-congo/virunga-coffee

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