In the last week of October, Sustainable Harvest Rwanda in partnership with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) organized the first ever quality coffee processing training in Rwanda that was sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The training in the latest industry-shaping initiative called the Q Processing program took place at Greenwich Hotel in Kigali
The three day training started on the 23rd to the 25th/10/2018 and was attended by staff members from National Agricultural Exports Board and coffee farmers from various coffee cooperatives in Rwanda.
Through experienced instructors in the Q Processing Program, the attendees from Rwanda were on hand to learn, discuss, and advance the science and research on coffee processing, largely through intense talks, training and experiencing how quality coffee is processed by other coffee producing countries.
Taking into context that processing is one of the most direct ways to impact and improve coffee quality, the Q Processing program has the potential to have a great impact on the coffee industry.
Yimara Martinez Agudelo the instructor of the Q Processing Program during the training.
Speaking to The New Times, an instructor of the Program, Yimara Martinez Agudelo, said that this is the first time the course is offered to farmers in Africa and that it could help coffee farmers improve coffee processing methods, lower risks and improve quality of their produce.
“This is the first time in Africa that farmers have access to this level of training. We have eliminated the language barrier with the help of a translator. These students have learned how to improve coffee processing methods which is going to help them improve on the quality of the coffee they produce,” Agudelo said.
According to Yimara, there are currently two levels for Q Processing: Generalist level (Level 1) and professional level (Level 2), with expert level (Level 3) in its final design stage and ready for deployment next year in 2019.
Throughout the three day training, farmers who in this case are the students were keen and attentive, trying their best to listen to the instructor in order to acquire the Q Processing certification that will be awarded to those who will pass was the desired credit.
According to Christine Condo, the East African Regional Director for Sustainable Harvest Rwanda, the industry faces a challenge because many of these people are small to medium-sized coffee farmers who are struggling to earn a sufficient income for their families.
“It is important for our farmers to learn how to process quality coffee that is why we partnered with CQI to have them trained. The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is working to address these issues by staying focused on quality. They believe quality is the most important variable affecting price and subsequently the livelihoods sustained by that price” said Condo.
Sustainable Harvest Rwanda focuses on building an inclusive economy that strengthens coffee farmers, roasters, and all other stakeholders through mutually beneficial business.
In order to achieve their mission, they provide training and technical assistance to coffee producers and other individuals in the supply chain to increase the value, volume, and sustainability of high quality coffee production.
This was the first Quality processing training for coffee stakeholders like Gisele Imanishimwe a representative from Abakundakawa Cooperative in Rushashi.
“For me it was extra special because it was about adding and improving the quality of the coffee we produce. Now that we know how others do it and why, we are going to train other famers from our cooperatives which will help boost the value of Rwandan coffee on the world market” said Imanishimwe.
Coffee farmers during the three day training.
The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is a nonprofit organization working internationally to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of the people who produce it.
CQI provides training and technical assistance to coffee producers and other individuals in the supply chain to increase the value, volume and sustainability of high quality coffee production.
CQI also works toward building institutional capacity in coffee producing countries by creating systems and infrastructure that encourage a focus on quality that leads to higher farmer incomes.
Christine Condo the East African Regional Director for Sustainable Harvest Rwanda addressing the participants.
Coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world and over 125 million globally people rely on its production for their livelihoods.