During the 21st Fair Trade Week, from 5 to 15 October 2022, the Belgian roaster Koffie/Cafés Rombouts is launching “Virunga Coffee”, a fair trade coffee created in collaboration with the coffee farmers of the Virunga National Park in Congo.
Since 2020, Enabel‘s Trade for Development Centre has supported two cooperatives in the region that supply coffee to Rombouts:
COOPADE: The farms of the Coopérative Paysanne de Développement (COOPADE/COOP-CA), founded in 2014, are located in the Lubero region, on the edge of the Virunga National Park, at an altitude of 1300 to 2100 m. The TDC has been coaching the cooperative in business management, in particular to make its financial management more efficient. A subsidy was also granted to modernise the coffee processing equipment and to set up a working capital fund to pre-finance purchases of cherry coffee.
The TDC also worked on better risk management so that the big price increases on the international market has not been fatal to the cooperative in 2021. (It seems contradictory, price increases are a good thing for the individual farmer, but often archly difficult for a cooperative to deal with.
COOKKANZ: KAWA KANZURURU Cooperative is a farmer’s organisation created by Arabica coffee producers in the Ruwenzori area, Beni territory. Coffee is grown by family farmers with an average of 300 to 1000 stems on an area of about 1 ha on the edge of the Virunga National Park, at an altitude ranging from 1000m to 1800m.
The cooperative has received coaching in marketing and business management from the TDC, not only to improve services to members and the community, but also to consolidate a sustainable business by improving communication to potential customers and negotiating better contracts.
A coffee company can only be successful in today’s market if it offers a sufficiently differentiated range of different coffee products. TDC also concluded this from the various profitability exercises per product (type of coffee) we worked hard on in recent years. Cookkanz has managed to differentiate its sales. From just a Fully Washed high quality (K3 FTO) to the combination with extra unwashed coffee (K5 organic) and even Robusta. This led to increasing total volume, lowering fixed costs and improving profitability for all products (which had previously been insufficient). It also leads to much better risk management.