COCAGI, coffee, Rwanda (producer)

Coffee Co-operative of Gichoma (COCAGI) is a coffee growers’ co-operative located in the Gishoma district of western Rwanda. They started out as an association of coffee producers in 2002, in the same year the Rwandan National Coffee Strategy was launched to promote the production of high quality specialty coffee. Two years later, they formally registered as a co-operative and the Government supported them to establish a coffee washing station.

COCAGI’s sales volume increased by almost 30,000kg the following year, after Shared Interest provided COCAGI with their first Commercial Export Credit (COEC) facility. This resulted in the cash flow needed to pay producers promptly for their coffee cherries. This improvement in payment provision attracted more producers to the co-operative.

Long term impact

When they officially became a co-operative, COCAGI struggled to access credit facilities to maintain their operations. Just two years later, COCAGI were able to support farmers living in areas identified by the Government as high risk (due to them being prone to landslide or flooding etc.), to relocate. They established a housing fund, which helped 67 families to construct new houses in the safer zones. That same year, following the launch of a Government campaign to eliminate houses with a thatched roof, COCAGI supported 30 producers to roof their houses with iron sheets. The co-operative went on to establish a fund to supply households with electricity. 

COCAGI Coffee Farmer, NZABANDORA Manasse, explains how the co-operative has helped meet the needs of his household. He is a single parent and a father of nine children. He has over 50 years’ experience in coffee production and owns 300 coffee trees. Before joining COCAGI, Manasse lived with his children in a wooden structure with no electricity. He owned 100 trees and was processing his coffee manually, selling it at low prices to local buyers. He borrowed from local moneylenders at high interest rates, to finance the education of his children and pay for healthcare but sadly, three of his children dropped out of school. However, thanks to COCAGI’s Educational Fund, he was able to cover the education of his six other children. Manasse has also constructed a new house, with a water and electricity supply. 

“Thanks to Cocagi and their financial partners, I have been able to fund the education of my children. A few years back, i did not have any means to do so, resulting in three of my children dropping out of school. Today, my income has improved and i can provide all food items for the consumption of my household.”

Read more about COCAGI in QR 120.

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