Democratic Republic of Congo “Rebuild Women’s Hope” Lot 1 Filter Coffee

$ 11.00$ 47.00

Plum, raisin, cola, baking spices, silky finish.

Region: Lake Kivu, DRC
Variety: Bourbon
Process: Washed
Altitude: 1,500 – 2,000 masl

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Description

This very special micro-lot of coffee beans comes from a group of around 1,800 smallholder women on the island of Idjwi on Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rebuild Women’s Hope (RWH) was started by Marceline Budza, who grew up in Bukavu during one of most violent periods in DRC’s history. She was inspired to create RWH to help women take charge of their lives and respond to the daily suffering, persecution, poverty and violation of rights she saw women face in her society. RWH was born out of the desire to combat this idea, through uniting a group of coffee producing women who are fighting against inequality in women’s rights and re-establishing the value of a woman’s work. For that reason, RWH works to create a spirit of entrepreneurship and self-management in women, in order to raise the standard of living in their communities and across their nation.

In 2015, Coffeelac built the first RWH South Idjwi Washing Station, which produced its first container of coffee in 2016. Profits from the sale of the coffee will be shared between all value chain actors, and will be used by RWH to support their women’s economic empowerment programs, such as entrepreneurship training and the establishment of other revenue generating activities for the women farmers of Idjwi.

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Coffee growers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are emerging from over 30 years of conflict. A lasting effect of this conflict was the devastation of the agricultural sector in Eastern DRC, where many rural farmers mainly rely on coffee production for their source of income. Today, the DRC is rebuilding the economic and social fabric of the country, and the coffee sector will play a leading role in that process. DRC’s official production shrank from a high of 130,000 metric tons in the late 1980s to about 20,000 metric tons in 2014.

Due to the political and economic unrest, investment in the coffee sector by private organizations during the past 20 years has been almost non-existent. Although reforms in the tax law and the re-emergence of international exporters have improved market access for DRC’s farmers, they still face other challenges.

Beyond the political and social limitations, farmers face production challenges because of the poor levels of de-hulling and processing practices. The lack of equipment, washing stations, and knowledge of best processing options and agricultural practices further limits reaching their potential to produce a high quality coffee. Additionally, there has been little incentive to produce high quality coffee, as most legal and illegal coffee ex-porters provide the same price for coffee regardless of quality.

In 2012, the government launched a program for the recovery of the coffee sector. The regions where recovery of coffee growth has been planned are eight districts of South Kivu province, the Robusta variety of coffee in the Orientale province, and about 700 hectares of Arabica coffee in Bandundu province.

Recent interest from the International Aid Community and the Specialty Coffee Industry has sparked a renaissance in coffee production in the DRC. Investments in washing stations and farmer training have grown exponentially in the past few years, and although there are still challenges with efficiency of export operations, growers have had some success producing high end specialty coffees that can compete well with the best offerings from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.