Rwanda Kinini Village by Kinini Coffee Cooperative
Tastes: Cranberry, orange, spices
Region: Northern Province, Rulindo District
Process: Fully washed & dried on raised beds
Importer: Crop to Cup
From Crop to Cup:
“Kinini” means, literally, ‘this big thing right here’. It is the name of the collaboration of cooperatives seeking to pool their efforts to improve their lots. 85% of the members are women– we met this group through the IWCA and found the lot from Tumba Village to be something worth sharing. Kinini is also the name of a washing station and cooperative located in Kinini town, which collects from the neighbouring villages of Tumba and Mageragere.
To understand how a group can produce 87 point coffee in their first year of production, you have to understand the people behind the coffee. Dreamers. That’s what everyone called Jacquie Turner and Malcolm Clear when they wanted to start a school for children in Eastern Rwanda 10 years ago. Driven by the desire to help the children of the genocide, they made that dream a reality. As they got to know that community they realized that these children needed much more than just education, and consequently, they lobbied the local government and international donors to support the construction of a local pharmacy, micro-finance credit institution, and other services to support the community that supports these children. What these two have accomplished for that community would be more than enough for any of us to hang our hat on and rest on our laurels, but they were not satisfied. Jacquie wanted to do more to help her fellow Rwandans.
So she and Malcolm started dreaming again. This time they dream of possibilities in coffee. They wanted to find a way to have generational impact on communities without having to continually fundraise money for aid projects. At this time they didn’t know anything about coffee, but they knew that the Rwandan government was supporting a transition towards specialty coffee. Malcolm and Jacquie wanted to see how far they could leverage that goodwill towards helping a community. They spent years soliciting advice from experts across the coffee industry and traveled all over Rwanda to look for a community that was interested in such a venture and was conducive for growing good coffee. After countless hours walking around farms with agronomists and soil-scientists, they settled on an area just an hour north of Kigali. This spot is not only stunning for its views, but its high elevation that dwarfs even the well-known Lake Kivu region. There was only one issue: not a lot of coffee was being grown there. So they dreamt up a solution. What if… they gave farmers coffee to grow? What if… they gave farmers technical support on how to grow good coffee? What if…they gave farmers a washing station to process it? What if…they gave farmers a dry mill to further process it? What if they set up an export company in Rwanda to sell it, and an import company in the UK to own it even further? What if…10% of the profits went directly to development project investments (in education, health, etc.) What if…they helped organize these farmers so that they could manage themselves and eventually the business without them? What if… It was a lot of dreaming, that was met with a lot of doors being slammed in their face. Set-backs that would deter the most resilient of us did nothing to dissuade these two from their goal. After years of lobbying the local government, the Development Bank of Rwanda, farmers themselves, and countless other parties, their project was finally green-lit in 2014.
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