Kanyege washing station lies in the high-altitude hills of the Nyamasheke District. The station, which sits at 1,920 meters above sea level, receives coffee grown as high as 2,100 meters above sea level. The warm days and cool nights afforded by such high altitude helps cherry mature slowly and amass more sugars. The prime location is combined with exceptional agricultural practices, allowing Kanyege to produce some of the best coffee in Rwanda.
In order to reach Kanyege washing station, the last kilometer or so must be traveled on foot. The path is lined with plots of healthy Bourbon trees set on a hilly landscape. Between December and May the branches of the trees are weighed down with cherry that becomes redder and redder as the season goes on. Soon, those perfectly red cherries will be picked and delivered to Kanyege washing station. Cherry delivered to Kanyege comes from farms at altitudes between 1,800 and 2,100 meters above sea level.
Sucafina Rwanda (Rwacof) purchased the station in late 2017. The following season was a difficult one for farmers in the Nyamasheke region due to the convergence of a periodic low cycle and a severe hailstorm that lowered production by 40%.
The 2019 season saw great recovery for farmers and the station alike. Volumes are up and the cup quality remains among the best in the country. 2019 was also the first year the station began using Honey processing in addition to its successful Washed and Natural lots.
Kanyege washing station is part of Sucafina Rwanda’s Farm Management project. The project trains casual workers in best agricultural practices and connects them with farmers. Workers can help farmers with activities such as pruning, fertilzer and pesticide application and harvesting. During the season, casual workers are paid by Sucafina Rwanda. Then, when farmers deliver their cherry to Kanyege washing station or another Sucafina Rwanda station, they repay Sucafina Rwanda for the labor they received during the season.
Cherry is selectively handpicked by farmers and delivered to Kanyege washing station. At intake, the station floats all cherry to remove any low-density cherry. Then, the high-density cherry is hand sorted to remove any visible defects.
After intake, cherry is pulped using a disc pulper. The pulped cherry is then placed in thin layers on raised beds to sun dry. It is sifted regularly to ensure even drying.
Rwacof invests heavily in farmer training and good agricultural practices, primarily through our sustainability partner, the Kahawatu Foundation. Rwacof’s Farmer Field School shares information with all their producer partners on best agricultural practices, conservation tactics, the importance of picking only ripe cherry and more.
Furthermore, Rwacof invests significant focus and resources on improving the financial situation of the farmers with whom they work. Annual bonuses are always distributed once the coffee is sold; however, as part of Sucafina’s innovative Farmer Hub program, instead of giving these second payments in cash, Rwacof has negotiated favorable rates with a wide-reaching African bank. --Info courtesy of Sucafina Specialty
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