The Ituri Coffee Project

SHIFT and Coffeelac are revitalizing the coffee sector in Ituri and transforming the way coffee is being grown and sold.

DRC has some of the best coffee in the world. However, 20 years of conflict have laid waste to a once thriving industry. The destruction of infrastructure and violence drove away private investment and forced many small-scale producers to sell their coffee at discount rates in neighbouring countries. This not only deprived farmers and their families of a decent wage, it has also deprived consumers of one of the world’s finest coffees.


The situation in Ituri is improving, reductions in levels of violence and the commitment of a number of enterprises is leading to a resurgence in the coffee industry in the region.

A new way to sell and grow Ituri coffee

Since 2013, SHIFT and Coffeelac have been working with smallholder farmers to transform the way coffee from the Ituri province in Eastern DRC is grown and sold. Together, we have developed a robust sustainability program to improve the quality and quantity of coffee produced and to improve traceability and consistency in supply by:

 

  • Training farmers in good agricultural practices and financial literacy

  • Training farmers and employees in recordkeeping to enhance farmer-to-buyer traceability

  • Paying farmers based on quality using a transparent buying/pricing strategy


These interventions ensure Ituri farmers are more knowledgeable about growing high quality coffee and better equipped to manage their coffee farms as small family businesses. This improved quality translates into greater business confidence in small farmer production in the DRC and into greater demand, benefiting the small farmers and their communities as well as others along the supply chain. SHIFT, Coffeelac and regional partners continue to work with smallholder farming communities to ensure they can take their rightful place as the producers  some of the world’s finest coffees to reap the rewards from their production.

Fast Facts

Location: Ituri, DRC

Coffee type: Arabica

Projected impact: 3,000 farmer households trained & 12,000 farmers reached

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Next Steps

Next year, SHIFT and Coffeelac will scale up support to small scale farmer communities to increase their coffee production capacity and build on their commercial success.

 

We are planning new community coffee facilities including a cupping and analysis lab, washing stations and training hubs to equip farmers with the resources they need to succeed.

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