The support of coffee producers’ cooperatives in Burundi

Coffee growing has a central role for the Burundian population. It supplies income for approximately 580’000 rural households and represents between 50 and 90 % of the export revenues of the country.

In 2005, Burundi started a process of privatization of the coffee sector, under the auspices of the World Bank.

BurundiThis process started in 2009 by putting on sale coffee washing and parch peeling stations, previously managed by mixed societies. These stations allow proceeding to the first phase of the coffee cherry processing, just following the harvest.

The conditions fixed by the World Bank to the buyers of these washing stations prevented the small producers from submitting offers. Only the multinational companies satisfying these conditions were able to take part to the appeal of offers.

Coffee producers’ cooperatives, federated within the CNAC (National Confederation of the Associations of Coffee growers of Burundi), representing 125’000 members coming from 104 cooperatives, denounced this established fact. Indeed, by exploiting coffee washing points, the cooperatives would have a more important control of the coffee sector, guaranteeing higher prices to small producers.

As they could not go buyers of the stations which were put on sale, they decided to build their own coffee washing and parch peeling stations, with the aim of being able to control the coffee chain value until its commercialisation.

In this context, the FIG was directly contacted by the Swiss NGO IRED.ORG and its local partner ADISCO in order to help these cooperatives to find the necessary financing to acquire and install their own coffee washing and parch peeling stations.

So, thanks to the FIGs guarantee, two first stations for the cooperatives of Ruziba-Nyamakarabo and Buseruko-Rugajo, were financed by local banks.

These cooperatives also support the development of subsistence crops (manioc, rice, beans, bananas), as a complement to the coffee culture.

During the year 2013, the FIG granted guarantees that allowed financing subsistence crops’ stocking and investments in equipment, such as husking rice machines or mills to grind manioc. These financings allow the cooperatives to value their productions and to sell them on the local markets, obtaining higher prices.

A total of 3’921 small producers, federated within 10 cooperatives, have so benefitted from the FIGs support during 2013.

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