With over 11,600 members, the Solidarité Pour La Promotion des Actions Café et le Développement IntégralCooperative is more of a movement than just a coffee. In the 10 years that the coop has been growing specialty coffee, the sales have helped the members improve their living conditions, providing schooling, housing, and jobs. As an SCA sustainability award winner, the members behind this coffee are moving fast towards transforming their community.
A Farmer’s Story
Chiza Moise inherited a field from his father and has leveraged that to stabilize the financial situation for his family in the Congo. Resources from coffee sales have contributed to the construction of Ciza’s house and allowed him to pay for another field in which he cultivates other products such as beans, cassava, and corn. As of today, Chiza Moise is earning interest on his coffee field and it has become a source of pride.
Cooperative: Solidarité pour la Promotion des actions Café et le Développement Intégral (SOPACDI)
Smallholder Farmer Solidarity for Coffee Production and Comprehensive Development
As coffee production drastically decreased since Congo’s independence in 1960, the financial stability of coffee producers became severely compromised as they received minimal support from the government and little access to international markets.
Smuggling coffee to Rwanda and Uganda became a last resort option for many producers. Despite its perceived benefits of quick access to cash, many lost their lives either by drowning in Lake Kivu in an attempt to cross into Rwanda, or during the sometimes perilous journey across the Rwenzori mountains seeking to cross into Uganda.
Community leaders who grew up in the coffee sector sought to combat this challenge and organized themselves as a cooperative. The organization was founded in 2003, and there were initially 279 members, including 276 men and 3 women.
The group has made strides in gender equity since then, with 30% of its members being women, and today there are more than 11,000 smallholder producers that are part of Solidarité pour la Promotion des actions Café et le Développement Intégral (SOPACDI).