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The African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) in partnership with the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) conducted the National “Taste of Harvest Coffee Competition” from January 23-25, 2024 in Kigali, Rwanda. The AFCA invites all coffee producers, cooperatives, millers and exporters in Rwanda to submit their finest coffee samples to the Taste of Harvest competition. All samples are cupped, graded and judged by a panel of qualified and experienced local and international judges, using the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) and Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) coffee cupping forms and protocols.

This coffee competition – the ‘African Taste of Harvest’ – is an annual high-end specialty-coffee grading event for different coffee producing countries, culminating in the Regional African Taste of Harvest Competition at the African Fine Coffees Conference & Exhibition and AFCA Specialty Coffee Expo each year.

For this year, 12 Rwanda coffee companies submitted 25 coffee samples to NAEB, and COOCAMU Cooperative was one of the participants. COOCAMU is a coffee washing station benefiting from the coffee value chain programme implemented by ICU in Rwanda and co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and European Union (EU). The ICU coffee programme includes the following project: “A market driven approach for the value chain improvements and the expansion of the Rwandan coffee market” a 4-year project financed by EU and “Business development in coffee and horticulture value chains in Rwanda for a long-lasting, inclusive and sustainable economic and employment growth and to overcome the consequences of the pandemic” a 3-year project financed by AICS. The cooperative was recognized as the producer of high specialty coffees with the best overall quality and the winner of the competition with 87.5 cup score. All coffees that receive scores of 80 or above (out of 100) are featured on the ToH website, providing instant visibility to specialty coffee buyers worldwide. AFCA provides the platform for producers & buyers, aiming to expand new trade networks and strengthen existing business relationships, to set up direct business to business (B2B) connections, cup, showcase and promote their coffees and trade at record market price.

ABOUT COOCAMU: it was founded by 368 smallholder farmers in 2010 and the Cooperative has expanded to over 540 members of whom 35% are women. The attempt was to improve their economic situation and to improve the live hoods of poor rural farmers through production of high-quality.

Certainly there has been an overall increase in quality COOCAMU coffee since the intervention of the ICU projects. The washing station received an intensive training on quality control and good agriculture practices, buyer’s visits and participation in different local and international workshops and coffee exhibitions. Growers have more of an incentive to produce high quality beans and are reaping the benefits.

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