Falcon Coffees

Origin

Rwanda

Population

11,553,000 approx

Altitude Range

1300 – 2200 masl

Notable Coffee Growing Regions

Western, Southern and Northern Provinces

Total Yearly Production

278,000 (60kg bags) (2015/16 - ICO)

Processing

Washed, some natural

No. of coffee farms / farmers

500,000 approx

Average Farm Sizes

0-1 hectares

Harvest periods

March - June

Per Capita Consumption

0.01kg per annum

In Rwanda, coffee has brought hope for a better future since the dark days of Civil War that shook the country back in 1994. Coffee has been used as a vehicle for positive change in the years that have followed, and the country is now rightly heralded as a top producer of fine specialty coffee.

Coffee was introduced to Rwanda in 1903 by German missionaries. As a cash crop it received government backing but the focus was very much on quantity rather than quality. However, the impact of the world coffee crisis in the late 1990s, when prices fell for several years below the cost of production, caused many Rwandan coffee farmers to rethink their position. Working hand in hand with the Rwandan Coffee Board (OCIR Café), international NGOs such as USAID, the Gates Foundation, and other coffee-focused organisations, a specialty coffee sector was created in the early 2000s.

Rwanda is blessed with ideal coffee growing conditions that include high altitude, regular rainfall, volcanic soils with good organic structure and an abundance of Bourbon. The vast majority of Rwandan coffee is produced by smallholders of which there are thought to be around half a million, with parcels of land often not much larger than just one hectare per family, with an average of approximately 180 trees each. Coffee is grown in most parts of the country, with particularly large concentrations along Lake Kivu in the west and in the southern province. Rwandan smallholders organise themselves into cooperatives and share the services of centralised wet-mills – or washing stations as they are known locally. Flowering takes place between September and October and the harvest runs from March to July with shipments starting in late May / early June.

Specialty Rwanda Offers

COMMON VARIETALS:

Rwanda: Social Impact

AGRONOMY TRAINING PROGRAM

Falcon’s sister company – Rwanda Trading Company – was established in 2009 as a vehicle for positive social impact, and remains committed to securing economic freedom and security for smallholder farmers by building resilient, transparent supply chains.

Like ourselves, RTC believe that profitable and ethical business go hand in hand. Their model is built on trust and communication. From the outset, they have established partnerships with farmers to help them in the field and to work with them to create stability and mitigate risk.

RTC focus on quality and invest in production, offering financial literacy, agribusiness management and agronomy training programs to increase yield and keep them operational, profitable and healthy. At the RTC dry mill in Kigali, which employs 160 full-time, and 250 seasonal employees, they also oversee the milling, processing and quality control for approximately 15% of Rwanda’s total coffee exports, and provide access to the futures market to secure the best prices for farmers.

In 2013, Rwanda Trading Company embarked on a long-term agronomy project in the Bugasera District of Rwanda’s Eastern Province. The aim was to improve quality, yield and farmer income from coffee crops. As of 2015, the programme’s successes included a 155% yield increase amongst the farmer group of 300 farmers. Deliveries to the Shyara Mountain washing station increased by 148% in less than 3 years, and quality, based on the SCAA cup scoring system, rose by an average of 4 points to 83 and above. Some of the washing stations now produce coffees that score up to 90 points.

The programme continues and has since been rolled out in other areas of the country, as well as via another of our sister companies – Tembo Coffee – in Tanzania.