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Virunga Coffee

The problem

Against the odds, farmers living along the borders of DR Congo’s Virunga National Park are producing some of the world’s finest Arabica coffee.

Amid outbursts of conflict, this extraordinary landscape produces raw coffee beans with spectacular potential, while the National Park provides a vital refuge for endangered animals including the mountain gorilla.

Poor farming practices, processing and lack of market channels have, until now, limited sales and kept growers’ incomes low. Driven by necessity to earn a living, farmers are damaging the park’s precious habitat by cutting down trees for charcoal production.

What are we doing?

By unleashing the potential of two coffee cooperatives, this project will boost the livelihoods of over 7,000 coffee farming families living on the border of Virunga National Park, reducing pressure on the park’s resources and lifting people out of poverty. 

Growing world-class coffee
From planting to processing, this project will refine each step of the coffee production process in Virunga to increase the quantity and quality of coffee produced. This will be achieved through:

  • Establishing coffee and shade tree nurseries.
  • Training farmers in good agricultural practices, including crop diversification to balance farmers’ need for both food and cash.
  • Fostering sound business planning and facilitating access to working capital.
  • Achieving and maintaining Fairtrade and Organic Certifications.
  • Training cooperative staff in coffee quality management, evaluation and control.
  • Installing cupping labs and improving micro-washing station infrastructure and working practices so that producers can monitor and improve coffee quality.
  • Upgrading local processing and storage capacity.

Finding and securing a market
The two young and vibrant cooperatives are being supported to understand and operate successfully in international speciality coffee markets. The staff are being accompanied to attend trade fairs, and to negotiate with international buyers with the aim of establishing relationships with importers, roasters and retailers.

Over the period of the project the cooperatives will expand their operations, will be supported to conduct business during periods of instability and to secure the working capital to facilitate growth.

Who are we working with?

Farm Africa is carrying out this project in partnership with The Virunga National Park.

This project is funded by the European Union.


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