Democratic Republic of the Congo
MUUNGANO means “Togetherness” in Swahili, and it was in that spirit that in 2009, 350 founding members came together and founded the Muungano Coffee Cooperative in eastern DR Congo. Located on the slopes near the shores of Lake Kivu, this coop today has over 4,300 farmers investing in coffee and their communities. It is a young cooperative that exports up to five containers per year of specialty coffees to Europe and the US. It owns two main washing stations and one smaller one. Most of the farmers (95%) deliver fresh cherries to the cooperative and 5% of them wet process the coffee at the farm level. On average, a farmer grows 1/3 hectare of coffee. Once coffee is processed and dried in South Kivu, it is sent to the Jumbo Safari dry mill in Goma to be sorted. Then, when ready, the coffee is loaded onto a truck to make the long road to the port of Mombasa, Kenya. Muungano members live in different communities that were divided by the civil war. However, these dedicated coffee farmers made the choice to combine their strengths in order to build a great future for their communities. They work hard every day in order to produce a high quality coffee and please coffee lovers’ mornings everywhere in the world.
Located on the shores of Lake Kivu, in the eastern region of DR Congo, SOPACDI was founded in 2003 and started exporting coffee in 2008. At 1460 – 1900 meters above sea level, SOPACDI is situated in an ideal region to grow high-quality coffee. It was the first organization of small-scale farmers to achieve Fair Trade and Organic certification in Eastern Congo, and, the first to export specialty grade coffee.
The Congolese gained independence in the 1960’s, and with that a decline in stability began, with constant conflict and civil war over a period of years. Many farmers fled and abandoned their farms during that time. Today, although the situation remains unstable, many farmers are looking to rebuild their lives through agriculture. In 2015, SOPACDI had 7,451 farmer/members whose spirit is stronger than ever, working together to provide a sustainable livelihood. SOPACDI members work hard every day in order to improve the quality of the coffee they produce, and to improve traceability.
On average a member grows 1.64 hectares and the cooperative exports up to 20 containers to Europe and the US. The cooperative exports two types of coffees: Grade 2 fully washed is coffee that is collectively processed in the cooperative wet-mills (farmers deliver cherries), Grade 4 coffee is processed at farms level by farmers and they deliver dried parchment to the cooperative. Once processed in South Kivu, the dry parchment is sorted at Jumbo Safari dry mill in Goma. This is from Goma that the coffee is loaded on truck to make the long journey to Mombassa (Kenya) port.