Friday, November 13, 2015

41. IWCA Rwanda meets at Let's Talk Coffee

Friday, Nov. 13, 2015
Serena Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda
IWCA "interested parties" gather at lunch during Let's Talk Coffee Rwanda. See names below.
Today was the second and final day of the Let's Talk Coffee conference. I was happy to see Mbula Musau again. After the morning sessions, she applied her excellent organizational skill in "herding" the participants with an interest in the International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) to sit together at one table for lunch.

At the table we had Angelique KAREKEZI, Rwashoscco (not in photo); Ben Carlson, Long Miles Coffee; Claudine Kantengwa, Kivu Belt Coffee; Adam Pesce, Reunion Island Coffee; Laetitia Kaytesire, Sake Farm Ltd.; Grant (did not get the co. name!); Mbula Musau, IWCA; and myself, Ruth Church, representing both Artisan Coffee Group and IWCA, as the IWCA Rwanda chapter mentor.

The discussion at the table included defining how, if at all, the IWCA program had tangibly benefited producers. Mbula and I both emphasized how the IWCA Burundi chapter is like a poster-child for bringing premiums in the form of higher prices and "bonus goats" to the members of IWCA. Word has spread and now many men also want to join IWCA because they have been so successful.

There was also discussion about improving quality, and whether that can be done in a way that benefits producers. In other words, if they have to invest more, can they get that value back in cherry prices - plus some? Here it was helpful to have Angelique Karekezi describe how one of their coops, Dakunda Kawa, has installed a mechanical sorter at the front end of one of their washing stations to sort cherry by density. This was just done towards the end of the 2014-2015 season, so the next season will show how much additional value the sorter will bring the coop members.  In the 2014-2015 season, simple organizational improvements (lowering unnecessary labor costs) reduced expenses so much, the coop was able to pay 30 Rwf/kg to producers instead of the typical 5-10 Rwf/kg. A three to six times improvement!
Minani Anastase, Dakunde Kawa; Pascal Kalisa, KZ Noir; Angelique Karekezi, Rwashoscco
Mbula Musau, IWCA East Africa; Daniel Rukazambuga, University of Rwanda
Note: Thank you to all the Sustainable Harvest staff for producing an excellent conference and for their willingness to collaborate with and support IWCA!

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