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In Burundi, we work with Raw Material who have constructed a centralised washing station called Izuba (meaning ‘sun’ in Kirundi) which acts as a vital collection point for the surrounding community. Producers delivering their cherry here are able to access finance, agricultural inputs and harvest assistance when needed.
For many reasons, Ethiopia has been a challenging country to buy coffee from but our main struggles have been in building a long term partnership with a particular producer or washing station. This is partly due to the way coffee has been historically traded in the country using a centralised auction system which can lead to amazing quality but with a lack of traceability to farm level.
Situated on the equator on Africa’s east coast, Kenya has been described as “the cradle of humanity” as, in the Great Rift Valley, palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man’s ancestors. Kenya’s topography is incredibly diverse and very well suited to coffee production, despite it being a non-native crop.
Historically, much of Rwanda’s coffee was exported to Belgium following the League of Nations Mandate after World War I which stripped Germany of its colonial rule of Rwanda and handed it to the Belgians. It wasn’t until 1917 that the country had enough coffee to export, but production increased due to the law put in place in the 1930s which made coffee a compulsory crop.