Virunga National Park’s Coffee project with Farm Africa. The program is designed to boost the livelihoods of more
than 7,000 coffee farming families living on the border of Virunga National Park. The project, which is financed
by the European Union, involves strengthening the business of the cooperatives and their members at each
level, from farm management to processing and business systems, while building a strong profile and presence in
international markets. The project approach is based on implementing a holistic and sustainable farming model, including crop diversification, establishing a balance between food security and cash generation.
The program includes training on good agricultural practices and the establishment of nurseries for coffee as well as other trees. Significant investments are being made to increase the quantity and quality of the fully washed Arabica. Washing station infrastructure is being upgraded, accompanied by rigorous training in coffee processing.
In 2020, cupping labs will be installed and cuppers trained. Internal control systems are being strengthened to ensure complete traceability and that the requirements for Fairtrade and Organic certifications are met. There is a strong emphasis on financial management capacities, including the governance issues entailed in operating a complex business.
The cooperatives are being supported to secure working capital and to understand and operate successfully
in international markets. Long-term marketing partnerships are now being developed, through which the cooperatives are able to build relationships with importers, roasters, brands and retailers.