Transforming DR Congo through research and public policy

Coffee Sector Projects

DRC’s Coffee Sector is one most important features of DRC’s Agribusiness economy and Coffee is Congo’s number one agricultural export in terms of both revenue and volume.[1] Endowed with favorable climate, soil, and hydrography, DRC has the environmental conditions to produce some of the best coffees in the world. Despite its promise, DRC’s Coffee Sector has yet to fulfill its potential.

In 2017, UCBC’s IRI is responding to these challenges and opportunities by partnering with Coffee Sector Actors to educate and equip the next generation of Agribusiness leaders, organizations and institutions to sustain and create ethical businesses that promote human flourishing and the common good in eastern DR Congo.

Agribusiness Scholarship Award picture

Eastern Congo Initiative’s Agribusiness Scholarship Award Recipients

More specifically, UCBC’s IRI and Agribusiness Department are continuing to partner with Eastern Congo Initiative in order to provide UCBC’s Agribusiness students with a comprehensive understanding of Agribusiness through exploring DRC’s coffee sector at each step of the coffee value chain (i.e., production, processing, distribution and logistics as well as the creation of coffee-related goods and services). Additionally, UCBC’s Agribusiness students will receive extracurricular training in Coffe as well as access to internships, service learning projects, and a new coffee lab at UCBC, equipping them with transferable skills and strategic knowledge useful in every Agribusiness sector.

What’s more, IRI is also collaborating on a project led by ECI and Élan-RDC that will result in an interactive DRC Coffee Atlas dashboard containing coffee-related maps, data and cupping information. The dashboard will help promote outside investment and interest in DRC’s coffee sector. Juhudi working on coffee map

Additionally, the world’s largest coffee export economies, like Brazil, have a large domestic coffee market.[2] A recent study by Ecobank argued that “the key to capturing the full value of African coffee will be in building robust value chains that ensure that beans flow seamlessly from farmers to African traders and roasters, and onward to African consumers.”[3] Researchers concerned with Congo’s economy, and specifically the coffee sector, must investigate the possible impact of the domestic market and its potential corresponding improvement of livelihoods in DRC.[4] In an effort to increase the percentage of Congo-captured value in the coffee value chain IRI is expanding research on the domestic market for coffee.

[1] International Trade Centre. “Country Brief: Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Accessed: 31 March, 2017. Available: http://www.intracen.org/country/democratic-republic-of-the-congo/.

[2] In 2015, domestic coffee sales in Brazil total more than $2.3 billion USD. Available: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Coffee%20Annual_Sao%20Paulo%20ATO_Brazil_5-16-2016.pdf

[3] “The Coffee sector in Sub-Saharn Africa,” Dr Edward George, Head of Soft Commodities Research, Ecobank, 4 March 2014.

[4] What’s more, many believe that DRC’s coffee sector has the potential to help promote greater stability in DRC. For example, the Pole Institute argues that the revitalization of DRC’s coffee sector might produce greater stability and mitigate youth participation in armed groups. See: Pole Institute. “Building Cross border cohesion through Coffee Cultivation?: Experiences of Cooperatives of Kalehe (DRC) and Rutsiro (Rwanda). Goma: March 2014.