MUUNGANO means “Togetherness” in Swahili, and it was in that spirit that in 2009, 350 founding members came together and founded the Muungano Coffee Cooperative in eastern DR Congo. Located on the slopes near the shores of Lake Kivu, this coop today has over 4,300 farmers investing in coffee and their communities. It is a young cooperative that exports up to five containers per year of specialty coffees to Europe and the US. It owns two main washing stations and one smaller one. Most of the farmers (95%) deliver fresh cherries to the cooperative and 5% of them wet process the coffee at the farm level. On average, a farmer grows 1/3 hectare of coffee. Once coffee is processed and dried in South Kivu, it is sent to the Jumbo Safari dry mill in Goma to be sorted. Then, when ready, the coffee is loaded onto a truck to make the long road to the port of Mombasa, Kenya. Muungano members live in different communities that were divided by the civil war. However, these dedicated coffee farmers made the choice to combine their strengths in order to build a great future for their communities. They work hard every day in order to produce a high quality coffee and please coffee lovers’ mornings everywhere in the world.
Tasting Profile: Milk chocolate, lemon, chamomile and fig with a syrupy body and juicy acidity.
Social Premium Investment: 2019 Crop YearFair Trade Certification guarantees 20 cents/lb of the price paid a producer organization is set aside as a social premium. How this money is invested is a decision taken collectively by the general assembly of members at the end of each harvest. Below is a break down of how producers in this organization chose to spend their fair trade premium.
Healthcare supportFinancing the construction of a hospital for members and nonmember focusing on the care of women and children in the four sectors of the cooperative: Ruhunde, Mwanati, Vomo and Buchiro. Supporting members in the sectors of Ruhunde and Kanenga in education and purchase of land for a community clinic.
InfastructureFinancing construction of 25 drying tables, fermentation tanks in the washing stations in Buchiro and Nyabirehe to improve coffee quality.
OperationsSalary support for cooperative agronomists. Set aside to cover cost of Fair Trade certification.
Improve YieldsProducing seedlings to distribute to members in order to encourage field renovation.