Rwanda is blessed with ideal coffee growing conditions that include high altitude, regular rainfall, volcanic soils with good organic structure and an abundance of Bourbon. The vast majority of Rwandan coffee is produced by smallholders of which there are thought to be around half a million with parcels of land often not much larger than just one hectare per family. Coffee is grown in most parts of the country, with particularly large concentrations along Lake Kivu and in the southern province. Rwandan smallholders organise themselves into cooperatives and share the services of centralised wet-mills – or washing stations as they are known locally. Flowering takes place between September and October and the harvest runs from March to July, with shipments starting in late May, early June.
Coocamu Musasa is a cooperative located in the western province of Rwanda. It is managed by its 16 board members and president, Harerimana Josias. Coocamu’s coffee comes from a high altitude, which is ideal for good quality coffee, and with good management, they are able to equip the wet-mill with the necessary requirements to ensure their quality is maintained. RTC took notice of their potential and started to work with the washing station in 2016, when they processed just over 1 container. Since then Coocamu has grown volume to nearly 3 containers, as of the 2018 harvest season. In addition to the high quality, Coocamu are also FairTrade certified.