SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development Intégral) is an organization comprising more than 5,600 farmers, roughly 20 percent of whom are women, located near Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each farmer has a very small area of farmland for coffee (fewer than 2 hectares on average), and tenders cherries to SOPACDI through the organization's 10 collection subgroups.
Joachim Munganga, who was a farmer himself, founded SOPACDI in 2003 by restoring a washing station in the area, which provided service and market access to the growers in these extremely remote highlands. Before he undertook this work, farmers had little to no means to transport coffee to the markets, and instead were forced to simply barter their coffee locally for food, clothing, and necessities. The cooperative was the first to achieve Fair Trade certification in Congo, and the coffee also carries organic certification. Members of the cooperative represent several different ethnic groups, speaking Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, and Kihavu, and many of the women members are widows.
This coffee comes from a group of 105 Pygmy people (including 51 women) who live and farm in the villages of Mishebere and Ruhunde in the Kahele territory. Historically, Pygmy people have faced terrible discrimination and disenfranchisement, including being forced into slavery and/or low-paying work. SOPACDI has started this project to source and keep separate coffee from this group of growers in order to provide them a better income from specialty coffee as well more financial independence and autonomy. The producers each own an average of 0.5 hectares, and deliver coffee in cherry form to the washing station. The coffee is depulped and fermented twice, first for 12 hours dry in tanks, and then for 12 hours underwater after it is washed and sorted in water channels. The coffee is dried for 16–25 days on raised beds under a shade cover of netting.
Tasting Notes: Toffee, Praline, Lemon
|Region||Mishebere and Ruhunde villages, Kalehe territory, South Kivu|
|Farm||105 smallholder farmer members of SOPACDI|
|Harvest Schedule||March– June|