Specialty Coffee Improving Farmers’ Lives

Specialty coffee is delicious, but also expensive. While it isn’t always easy to justify spending a little more on a personal indulgence,  here’s a reminder why drinking the good stuff makes a meaningful difference to the people producing it.

Excerpt from: Rwandan Coffee Farmers Turn Premium Beans Into Harvest Gold by Michaeleen Doucleff posted on The Salt, NPR’s food blog 8/17

Premium coffee beans can cost five times more than regular ones. Do the farmers actually reap the benefits of these high prices?

Definitely. In 2000, farmers from Rwanda’s first coffee cooperative earned around $0.20 for one kilogram of ordinary coffee. In 2011, these same farmers got roughly $3.50 per kilogram. That’s a pretty monumental difference.

Take the case of Uwimana Immaculee, a farmer in southern Rwanda. For years, she and her family had been struggling to produce beans, sorghum and other small crops, with little financial success. Seeing her neighbors benefit from specialty coffee, she decided to take a risk and invest her family savings in 100 coffee trees.

She has never looked back.

Uwimana’s farm has tripled in size now. This season she sold 700 kilograms of freshly picked coffee cherries to a local specialty coffee washing station, earning over $350, which is no small change in rural Rwanda.

The extra money from coffee has helped her put two children through school, build a new house and even invest in new land to expand her plantation.

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Categories: General Discussions, Travels


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    […] Specialty Coffee Improving Farmers’ Lives […]

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