Patron: The Rt. Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool.

Coffee Growing Co-operative

If one activity is able to reduce or even eliminate poverty in a community of rural Rwanda, that activity has to be coffee growing.

Rwanda's main foreign currency earners are tea, coffee and tourism. Tea and Coffee produced in Rwanda are of very high quality and the tourism is quite special - it is mainly for people to visit Mountain Gorillas.

The terrain around Shyira is not appropriate for the growing of tea, but is ideal for growing coffee. Indeed, some hillsides that are too steep for other crops are able to produce coffee - see the picture of a hillside where about 7,000 coffee plants were recently planted..

A steep hillside used for coffee growingThe plan is to have at least 50,000 coffee plants with different groups taking responsibility for a section of the plantation. Examples of groups are Mother's Union, orphan families and the HIV support group. Each group will take a share of the income from their own coffee beans with the balance going to the parish for the management of the project and for community development.

It is anticipated that the completed project will directly employ at leaast 100 people with many more involved indirectly. With money raised spent in the local community it becomes easy to see why the effects of coffee growing reach the whole community.

The aim is to develop a plantatation of about 50,000 coffee plants. So far we have paid for the purchase of land sufficient for 8,500 plants and the parish are using that pilot to develop their project management skills and for training groups who will take responsibility for future expansion.