Changing Planet

Rwandan Farmers Aim to Produce World’s Best Organic Coffee

Kigali, Rwanda–Hours after arriving in this capital city of Rwanda, we were invited to observe President Clinton and daughter Chelsea sipping coffee with some rural coffee farmers.

It was planned for the Clinton delegation and the media to fly by helicopter to a coffee plantation earlier in the afternoon, but that was before the breakdown of Clinton’s aircraft in Addis Ababa made this impossible. Instead, the farmers were brought to Clinton’s Kigali hotel.

“Rwandan Farmers Coffee” brand was launched in the United Kingdom a few weeks ago. There are plans to roll it out in the United States soon.

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Supported by the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, some 8,700 rural coffee farmers in Rwanda are selling their coffee under their own brand directly to U.K. supermarkets. They retain all the money earned for the brand, and some 16 percent of the retail price is returned to them via their own trust fund.

Coffee drinkers across the world who buy this brand will know they are bypassing middle men and sending a decent cut of what they paid for the coffee straight to the rural people of Rwanda.

I am particularly fond of African coffee and I know a good flavor when I taste one. I tried a brew of Rwandan Farmers Coffee at the event last night and I can tell you it is very good, if not exceptional.

Rwanda’s geography — its altitude, rainfall patterns, and volcanic soil — favors coffee cultivation: The farmers told us last night that they are using the profits earned from the U.K. markets to expand and improve the quality of their coffee. They want to produce the best organic coffee in the world.

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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