On 1st of April 2020, ICU together with Kahawatu Foundation and Positive Planet International have started a 48 months project funded by EU to contribute to the enhancement of the Rwandan coffee value chain where the offer better matches the demand and the international demand increases.
The project is being implemented in 24 Coffee Washing Stations (CWS) across the Eastern, Southern, Western and Norther province and over 14.000 smallholder farmers.
After the first months of lockdown due to COVID-19 measure in the country, project team is now visiting all the potential CWS beneficiaries of the action in order to define with a participatory approach the detailed interventions in terms of sustainable production, farmer’s organization, access to finance, equipment and infrastructure improvement, access to certification and traceability methods, access to the market.
Despite the importance in the Rwanda economic context Coffee farmers have been struggling to meet basic livelihood needs due to a number of factors: (1)volatility of coffee prices over recent decades have hindered adequate investment in productivity and processing, (2)unsustainable farming practices and climate change have further exacerbate challenges of yield and quality, (3)insufficient access to extension and affordable finance (both at the individual farmer and production level) coupled with inefficiency in the value chain has also hampered the development.
Different interventions have demonstrated that escape from this poverty cycle can be possible, if farmers can realize the full potential of their coffee as a certified specialty product, strategically placed in international markets. Tackling quality, productivity, price risk management and access to finance are all essential elements to enable producers to take advantage of this opportunity.
The total budget of the project is 2.502.213,13 Euro and it is financed, for an amount of 2.000.000 Euro (79,92%), by the European Union.