The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been plagued by sexual violence, ethnic conflict and corruption for over fifty years. Though the D.R. Congo is rich in resources, its unstable government and warring factions have made trading extremely difficult for decades. Desperate for market access in a crumbled economy, many Congolese coffee farmers resorted to smuggling their crop across Lake Kivu to Rwanda just to barter, and many lost their lives in the process.
In 2002, Joachim Munganga founded the SOPACDI cooperative, starting with his own farm, and gained access to the international market in 2008 through Twin Trading U.K. Since then, the co-op has built the first new coffee washing station the country has seen in over 40 years, and expanded their membership to more than 5,600 farmers. These farmers own their own land and sell their coffee to the co-op, who then process the beans for selling to roasters and distributors. Thanks to Twin Trading, Equal Exchange partnered with SOPACDI in 2011, and began bringing their remarkable coffee to our customers.
In uniting with SOPACDI and the Panzi Foundation, the Congo Coffee Project has a twofold impact: by addressing economic instability directly by working with a cooperative that is restoring the local economy from the ground up, and by aiding survivors of systematic violence and long term unrest. These combined efforts support the healing needed to move forward and the foundation for a better future.
Read more about the Congo Coffee Project here