Washing Station Ruli
Producer Marie Bedabasingwa
Region Gakenke District, Ruli Sector
Altitude 1960 MASL
Varietal Red Bourbon
Process Fully Washed
It’s a rare treat indeed to find a coffee that’s traceable back to a single Rwandan producer. It’s for this reason that we feel privileged and wonderfully fortunate to be able to share this special lot from Marie Bedabasingwa, a woman of incredible resilience and commitment.
Marie was born in 1955 and widowed in the horrific Rwandan genocide of 1994. Faced with the responsibility of caring for her five surviving children and rebuilding their lives, Marie began shifting her energy into coffee production.
While we’ve enjoyed many years of purchasing from the Ruli washing station, this is the first time we’ve managed to buy from a single producer. Typically, the coffees we source in Rwanda are traceable back to a washing station and, at best, a group of farmers. Why are Rwandan single origins so difficult to come by? Here, washing stations generally receive cherries from hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of farmers who own very small plots of land. Separation of such tiny lots is near impossible and not at all practical. As a result, most of the lots are delineated by day of picking rather than producer/group.
The fact that Dukunde Kawa Cooperative (of which Marie is a member) now has its own dry mill is another reason we’ve been able to see out this wonderful opportunity. The mill allows Dukunde Kawa to process smaller lots and control quality right from the beginning of the process – that is, from coffee cherry delivery through to export.
Dukunde Kawa also has a wonderfully transparent relationship with its members. It pays a fixed rate for coffee delivered to the station at the start of the harvest and rewards all farmers with a second payment later in the season. This second fee is based on any additional profits they’ve secured from lots selling for higher-than-expected prices.
In an effort to continuously help members improve the quality of coffee produced, the cooperative provides agronomy training and has helped to build classrooms and a model farm used to demonstrate best practice. The cooperative also provides its members with access to fertilisers and organic pesticides as well as assisting with school fees and medical insurance. Dukunde Kawa has also spearheaded the launch of a ‘Farmers’ Savings Account’ which provides a line of credit for producers needing access to funds for things like healthcare, farming materials, domestic improvements and more.
FOB price: AUD/kg $10.23
C-market price: $3.2
Fair Trade minimum: $4.53
2.2x higher than the Fair Trade minimum
To learn more about Transparency in coffee pricing and why it's so important, check out our Transparency Project.