Location: Kibingo washing station, Kayanza region Landed: January 2022
Altitude: 1,700 -1,900 masl Varietal: Red Bourbon
Process: Fully washed
Flavour profile: Blood orange & tea rose
Category: Fruity & Juicy
There are 3,515 smallholders living around Kayanza, Burundi who deliver their cherry to Kibingo washing station. Sucafina import this coffee from their in-country partner Greenco. In addition to operating 13 washing stations in Burundi and processing excellent coffee, Greenco is also working with communities to increase farmer livelihoods and general equality in coffee producing areas.
KIBINGO WASHING STATION
Kibingo washing station is located in the commune of Kayanza in northern Burundi. The station itself sits 1,893 meters above sea level. The altitude of the farms in the neighbouring hills that supply the washing station varies from 1,700 to 1,900 meters above sea level.
Kibingo serves 3,515 registered coffee growers, spread over 18 hills in the area. All producers registered at a Greenco washing station are organised in groups of 30 people, headed by a farm leader. This leader acts as a spokesman to facilitate communication and organisation with the washing station.
The washing station is equipped with 10 fermentation tanks, 2 soaking tanks and a drying field with 165 drying tables and 4 pre-drying tables. Kibingo can process 750,000 kg of cherry per day.
At the washing station, farmers can obtain organic fertiliser from composted coffee pulp. To promote farm renovation, producers can get low-cost, subsidised coffee seedlings at the washing station. Each station has its own nursery for this purpose.
The washing station participates in a number of farmer outreach and support projects including a livestock rearing project and a range of Farmer Hub projects centred on strengthening cooperatives and improving yields.
GREENCO IN BURUNDI
The average cherry buying price for Greenco in 2019 was significantly above average. Washing stations make the first payment to farmers between 15-30 June. The second payment comes later in the summer. If the coffee wins a competition or sells for extremely high specialty prices, Greenco gives another payment approximately a year after the harvest season.
Once dry, the parchment coffee is then bagged and taken to the warehouse. Greenco’s team of expert cuppers assess every lot (which are separated by station, day and quality) at the lab. The traceability of the station, day and quality is maintained throughout the entire process.
Before shipment, coffee is sent to Budeca, Burundi’s largest dry mill. The coffee is milled and then hand sorted by a team of hand-pickers who look closely at every single bean to ensure zero defects. It takes a team of two hand-pickers a full day to look over a single bag. UV lighting is also used on the beans and any beans that glows—usually an indication of a defect—is removed.
The mill produces an average of 300 containers of 320 bags per year. Budeca is located in Burundi’s new capital city, Gitega. The city has a population of around 30,000 people. Since there are approximately 3,000 people working at the mill, mostly as hand pickers, this means that Budeca employs nearly 10% of the total population in Gitega for at least half the year (during the milling season). The same is true in the provinces of Ngozi and Kayanza, where Greenco and Bugestal are the first employers in the region during the coffee harvest season. This has an incalculable impact on a country like Burundi, with unemployment rates above 50%, especially in rural areas and among young people.