Summary

  • Headquarters location: Mabanza

  • Region: Eastern shore of Lake Kivu, Rutsiro, Western Rwanda

  • Founded: 1998

  • Producers: 797 smallholder farmers (302 women; 495 men) in 12 operating zones; 2 of 5 board members are women.

  • Post-harvest process: Fully-washed from 2 central washing stations; raised, shaded drying tables; trained cupper. Women's Coffee available from Ejo Heza (A Beautiful Tomorrow) women's collective coffee field and female members.

  • Certifications: Fairtrade. Fairtrade (through Misozi Company Ltd. Farmer-owned exporter organisation), expecting Rainforest Alliance certification inspection in February 2017, working towards Organic

  • Varieties: Bourbon

  • Soil types: Old volcanic

  • Harvest time: February to June (main); October to November

  • Elevation: 1500 — 1900

More about KOPAKAMA

washing station

Koperative y’abanzi ba Kawa ba Mabanza in Kinyarwanda, or KOPAKAMA, means the Agricultural Coffee Co-operative of Mabanza – a former county of western Rwanda. The country has been re-organised into districts, but the name lives on.

From its beginning in 1998 with just 48 members, the focus at Kopakama has always been on producing excellent quality fully-washed Arabica against the inspiring backdrop of mountains dropping down to the sparkling waters of Lake Kivu. The farmers invested their profits from coffee sales into building their micro-washing station.

‘We see our achievements as a force that binds the community together’

KOPAKAMAToday, Kopakama has over 600 members, expertly growing and processing their coffee using two washing stations, one full-scale and one micro, and employing the skills of a trained coffee cupper. Typical plot sizes are 0.5 to 2 hectares.

Kopakama’s farmers are committed to improving their local communities. So far, they have brought in gravity-fed water to serve the community and used the Fairtrade premium to access electricity. They have also bought the co-operative’s Conference Hall. Their vision is to move together towards a more stable price and market for their coffee.

At the start of 2013, they made a major step forward with their Women’s Coffee project by buying a field for women to produce and sell coffee. It is called Kopakama Ejo Heza, meaning ‘A Better Tomorrow’ and it is owned collectively by 244 women.

Kopakama exports its coffee through Misozi, a co-operative-owned Rwandan export union.

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KOPAKAMA, Kibuye, Rutsiro District, Rwanda

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