Rwanda - Horizon Lot 1 | Washed | Bourbon
|Density ( gram/liter ):||
Star fruit, apricot, toffee, bakers chocolate
SPOTLIGHT: WASHING STATION
Not far from sister stations Bwenda and Gitega Hills is the Horizon station, found in the neighbouring Kigoma sector. The site is just 20km from Huye Mountain and nearby to the small town of Simbi. When current owner, Fdel, took over the station in 2019, it had fallen into disrepair and there was much work to do to maximise the potential of the coffees which passed through it.
Since Fdel is not originally from the area, his taking ownership of the station - which had been operating on the same site since 2006 - was met with some scepticism by the local community at first. However, since then Fdel and the station have both become extremely positive additions to the community, not least by the fact they provide jobs for 94 people, 4 of whom are full-time. 70% of the total full-time and seasonal staff are women.
Horizon must be one of the most beautiful sites in the Southern Province. The small 3 hectare area sits long in the valley with steep slopes surrounding it. Pineapples grow on the verges and avocado trees line the walk down to the site. It sits at 1680 metres but the farms surrounding the station are much higher up, closer to 2000 metres. 1200 farmers contribute cherry to the station from farms that are all within 2km from the site. The average farm size is 7000 trees (3ha), and some have only 100 trees, amongst other crops. In 2019 - the first year production restarted - the station processed 450 tons of cherry. Total production for 2022 is estimated at 1000 tons. All 1200 farmers
are members of the ATP. Farmers receive organic fertiliser from the station consisting of recycled cherry pulp, which is fermented with lime and molasses to create EM2.
Country Population: 11,553,000 approx.
Altitude range: 1300 – 2200 masl (approx)
Total yearly production: 258,000 (60kg bags) (ICO – 14/15)
Processing: Mostly washed, but some natural
No. of smallholder farmers: 500,000 approx.
Average farm sizes: 0-4 hectares
Harvest periods: March - June
In Rwanda, coffee has brought hope for a better future since the dark days of Civil War that shook the country, and indeed the world, back in 1994. Coffee has been used as a vehicle for positive change in the years that have followed, and the country is now rightly heralded as a top producer of fine specialty coffee.
Coffee was introduced to Rwanda in 1903 by German missionaries. As a cash crop it received government backing but the focus was very much on quantity rather than quality. However, the impact of the world coffee crisis in the late 1990s, when prices fell for several years below the cost of production, caused many Rwandan coffee farmers to rethink their position. Working hand in hand with the Rwandan Coffee Board (OCIR Café), international NGOs such as USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other coffee-focused organisations, a specialty coffee sector was created in the early 2000s.
Rwanda is blessed with ideal coffee growing conditions that include high altitude, regular rain-fall, 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. On average, Rwandan smallholders own approximately 180 trees each. Coffee is grown in most parts of the country, with particularly large concentrations along Lake Kivu in the west and in the southern province. Rwandan smallholders organise themselves into cooperatives and share the services of centralised wet-mills or or washing stations. Flowering takes place between September and October and the harvest runs from March to July with shipments starting in late May / early June.
RWANDA TRADING COMPANY
HQ Location: KIgali
No. of Employees:
Working with 52,000 coffee farming
families throughout Rwanda
Rwanda Trading Company (RTC), our sister company, is a green coffee exporter based in Kigali working with farming communities across the country. RTC processes and exports 20% of the Rwandan yearly coffee production through 18 owned washing stations and 74 partner stations, which receive capital and access to the market from RTC. The motive to start RTC in 2009 was the realisation that Rwanda had 300,000 coffee farmers earning less than 30% of their potential farm income because of solvable yield, quality, and transparency problems. The business opportunity was clear: RTC could export increasing volumes of high-value coffees from the same farmer base, while smallholder farmers and the nation could triple annual farm and export revenue, respectively.
RTC’s Sourcing Department have spent weeks and months in the field to learn the obstacles farmers face when trying to build profitable coffee farms. Understanding these obstacles is the foundation on which RTC developed interventions that can simultaneously improve farmers’ livelihoods, gauge farms’ business potential, and secure RTC’s inventory needs. These interventions are offered through RTC’s transparent sourcing strategy and the Agribusiness Training Program (ATP) that started in 2013 with 2,000 farmers and as of 2022, extends to 52,000 participant farming families.
- 209% increase in household income
- 52,000 farmers trained since 2019
3.5million lbs of digitally traceable coffee in 2021
- $200k of pre-season loans to farmers in 2022
- 350,000 seedlings distributed in 2022