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Simbi coffee

Simbi Coffee, coffee, Rwanda (producer)

Simbi Coffee, based in Rwanda, became a customer after going through our virtual due diligence process in March 2021. Founded by Abdul Rudahunga, they support a community of over 2,000 farmers. Abdul was inspired to start the business by his grandmother; she was also a coffee farmer and one of the few rural Rwandans that roasted and enjoyed her own coffee as part of her daily routine. 

Over 400,000 Rwandan families rely on coffee farming for their main source of income. Overall, it remains a smallholder activity, with the average size of a coffee farm being less than a hectare (around 2.5 acres) containing 200 trees. 


The beans from Rwanda’s Arabica trees are internationally renowned. Their superior quality increases demand, especially in Europe and the U.S., and also helps increase the price that farmers can get for their coffee berries. Having won a Certificate of Excellence Award in 2013, 2015 and 2018, Simbi Coffee continues to produce a variety of Arabica coffee called Red Bourbon. This is said to have flavour notes of orange and other citrus fruits as well as brown sugar, caramel and chocolate.

Kennedy explained: “Simbi Coffee negotiates the price with buyers at the beginning of the harvest season and agrees on the final price based on the market before shipment.

“Farmers have faced challenges caused by climate change as Rwanda experiences periods of extreme or little rainfall, which can affect coffee production.”

To help protect the coffee berry quality and yield, the co-operative is encouraging their farmers to become more climate resilient by offering training about soil conservation and good agricultural practices. They also provide their members with organic manure, which they create from coffee husks and other composite materials. Kennedy will have the opportunity to see how this is carried out during his visit in September.

Shared Interest Head of Lending Paul Sablich said: “Virtual due diligence has become a vital part of our work as we aim to reach remote communities without placing our members’ capital at excessive risk.

“However, it is positive that we are able to start some customer visits again, in conjunction with our virtual processes. I do think that an important part of what we do is meeting with farmers and artisans face to face, in order to fully understand their problems and needs.

“This has enabled us to strengthen relations with producer groups, finding better ways to support them, meanwhile expanding into new supply chains in different countries. We have seen businesses grow and Shared Interest has been a fundamental factor in their evolution.

“Visiting farming co-operatives in particular serves as an important reminder of how important our work is - to provide finance so that they can provide a better income for their farmers and - through the Fairtrade Premium - better services to communities.

“Above all else, we want to support businesses, communities and people through times of adversity to reach their full potential. This is why we will continue to explore new regions and products and supply chains, to ensure our finance touches the lives of those who need it most.” 

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