About Rwanda – Kigeyo:
COOPAC is a Fair Trade–certified cooperative located near Lake Kivu on the steep slopes of volcanic mountains. The organization founded by Emmanuel Rwakagara, who is the president of COOPAC as well as the owner of the Gishamwana Island coffee estate. COOPAC began with 110 farmers in April 2001, and currently has 8,000 members contributing coffee from Ack, Ubuzima, Tuzamurane, Kopabm, Abakundakurima and Abanyamurava. With over 50 washing stations along the northern landscape of Lake Kivu, COOPAC exports 150 containers of Fair Trade certified coffee annually.
KODUKAK is a secondary group formed in 2015 and representing 990 farmers from the Kigeyo sector, including Nkora, Buhindure, and Nyagahinika. These producers harvest ripe cherries and deliver them to the Kigeyo Washing Station, where they are depulped the same day as receipt. The coffee is fermented dry for 12 hours, then underwater for 24, followed by multiple washings to remove the mucilage. The beans are dried in mechanical dryers and on raised beds for 2–3 weeks.
COOPAC is committed to environmental and social sustainability in addition to producing high quality coffee. Waste by-products from processing are used as fertilizer rather than discarded into the lake, and shade trees are distributed to farmers to prevent soil erosion. COOPAC has assisted in the construction of a school, health-care clinics, and roads and bridges in the community. The cooperative also has a program to distribute cows and goats to the most productive farmers and provides farmers with an agricultural advisor to teach the latest production methods.