Feed the Future
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After Conflict and Decline, Congolese Coffee Rises Again

This post originally appeared as one of USAID.gov's "Transforming Lives" stories.

Once home to a thriving coffee industry, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) saw coffee production and export steadily decline during recent decades of instability and conflict. Now, with international demand for specialty coffee at an all-time high, the country is reviving its coffee sector and starting to regain its place as a leading coffee producer.

Through a USAID-funded partnership in the province of South Kivu, coffee farmer cooperatives are improving the production of coffee cherries—from harvesting to market delivery to finding international buyers. Coffee farmers are learning about the right moment to pick their coffee cherries, which, like any other fruit, must be picked at peak ripeness for best taste.

Knowledge like this separates low-value coffee from high-value specialty coffee, bringing in a better price in the international market.

The work has borne fruit. With new business skills under their belt, the cooperatives have negotiated a pre-harvest financing agreement with Westrock Coffee, which means that farmers are paid up front for their cherries at the time of harvest.

In 2015, South Kivu coffee cooperatives received high rankings at the first international coffee cupping competition held in the DRC.... Read more at USAID.gov.