From the Single Origin Series: Congo Kivu SOPACDI
COOPERATIVE: Congo Kivu SOPACDI
[Solidarité pour la Promotion des Actions Café et le Développement Intégral]
Located on the shores of Lake Kivu in the eastern region of DR Congo, SOPACDI was founded in 2003 and started exporting coffee in 2008. At 1460 – 1900 meters above sea level, SOPACDI is situated in an ideal region to grow high quality coffee. It was the first organization of small scale farmers to achieve Fairtrade and Organic Certification in Eastern Congo and the first to export specialty grade coffee.
Congo gained independence in the 1960s. Soon after, the country destabilized and was torn apart by constant conflict and civil war for the next several years. Many farmers fled and abandoned their farms during that time. Today, although the situation remains unstable, many farmers are looking to rebuild their lives through agriculture and have formed cooperatives to help them do so.
The spirit of the cooperative is stronger than ever, working together to provide a sustainable livelihood for its community of farmers. SOPACDI members work hard every day in order to improve the quality of the coffee they produce and to improve traceability. On average a member grows 1.64 hectares and the cooperative exports up to 20 containers to Europe and North America.
Roughly 20 percent of the cooperative’s farmers are women, many of whom are widows having lost their husbands at war or by drowning trying to smuggle coffee across Lake Kivu so that they could sell it for a decent price. Needless to say, access to higher prices through direct trade with us and our coffee-buying cooperative has allowed them to build a better life for themselves and their communities. That is worth celebrating - with a delicious cup of Congolese coffee!
$1 for every bag sold will be donated to The Federation of Black Canadians.
Text courtesy of Coop Coffees, edited by Equator Coffee Roasters
Photo courtesy of Higher Grounds