SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development Intégral) is an organization comprising more than 5,600 farmers, roughly 20 percent of whom are women, located near Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each farmer has a very small area of farmland for coffee (fewer than 2 hectares on average), and tenders cherries to SOPACDI through the organization’s 10 collection subgroups.
Joachim Munganga, who was a farmer himself, founded SOPACDI in 2003 by restoring a washing station in the area, which provided service and market access to the growers in these extremely remote highlands. Before he undertook this work, farmers had little to no means to transport coffee to the markets, and instead were forced to simply barter their coffee locally for food, clothing, and necessities. The cooperative was the first to achieve Fair Trade certification in Congo, and the coffee also carries organic certification. Members of the cooperative represent several different ethnic groups, speaking Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, and Kihavu, and many of the women members are widows.
This lot comprises coffee delivered from more than 3,500 women smallholder farmer members of SOPACDI who live in the Kalehe territory of DR Congo’s South Kivu province. The average farm size of these women is 0.7 hectares, and they grow Bourbon and other varieties of coffee in sandy clay loam soil. The women deliver their coffee in cherry form and it is processed at the mill: First it is depulped and fermented for 12 hours in tanks, then it is washed and sorted in water channels before being placed underwater and fermented again for another 12 hours. It’s dried on raised beds under a shade cover of netting; the drying process takes 16–25 days on average.
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