Producer Profiles

COOPAC - Coopérative pour la Promotion des Activités Café

Coopérative pour la Promotion des Activités Café (COOPAC) is located in the Rutsiro and Rubavu districts of the Western Province of Rwanda, near Lake Kivu’s steep volcanic slopes. The volcanic terrain, high altitude and heavy rainfall create a perfect environment for producing delicious and exotic Arabica coffee. The cooperative, which began in 2001 with just 110 farmers, now boasts 2,200 members. COOPAC has been Fair Trade Certified TM since 2003.

COOPAC was founded by native Rwandans. Their comprehensive knowledge about the land, language, culture and community needs enable the farmers to produce a quality coffee bean harvest. The cooperative president, Emmanuel Rwakagara, is driven to create a coffee of superior quality and pursues this relentlessly with cooperative members. Excellent coffee quality and Fair Trade certification have enabled COOPAC to sustain efforts for socio-economic development.

Coffee has long been Rwanda’s largest export, but the genocide of 1994 brought production to a halt. The genocide destroyed the country and with nearly one million lives lost in just 90 days. With assistance from international political bodies and the tremendous courage of the Rwandan people, a degree of stability has been brought back to the country. Members have overcome great obstacles utilizing their agricultural knowledge to sustain their recovering land for the benefit of their community.

COOPAC coffee has a pleasant acidity with grapefruit notes and citric overtones of sweet lemon and lime. In 2007, COOPAC took first place among Rwandan producers in the Eastern African Fine Coffee Association cupping competition and placed third overall with a cupping score of 87. In 2010, they won the Rwanda Cup of Excellence - a strict competition that selects the very best coffees produced from around the country.
 

Quotable

I have never in my life seen a cooperative that gives discounts on cattle and helps build schools to better educate its members' children. All of these things are what remind me of the powerful impact Fair Trade has on a developing community. Long live COOPAC, long live Fair Trade!  

Marceline Nyiranzabahimana, cooperative member

Fair Trade premiums have been very beneficial for me. Because of the premiums I have been able to build a beautiful home and now own four cows that have just given birth to two calves! They were donated to my family and I on behalf of COOPAC because of my dedication to the cooperative.  

Félix Urengejeho, Member

Programs

New Classrooms

The cooperative used Fair Trade premiums to promote education within their community. Busoro Primary School was outfitted with two new classrooms, further demonstrating the opportunities Fair Trade can bring to developing countries. As the primary school expands, more children will have access to education, ultimately providing them with the resources they need to succeed in the future.

Low-Interest Micro Financing

With Fair Trade premiums, COOPAC is able to offer low-interest financing to members. With these investments, farmers find it easier to invest in product quality and are able to increase their export capacity to meet higher market demands.

Agroforestry Assistance and Training

COOPAC has been able to develop an effective and sustainable supply of new trees through the distribution of seeds for agroforestry. Other tree management resources include workshops on soil, erosion and proper maintenance.