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Changing Lives in DR Congo

…coffee to make you smile

How coffee cultivation is changing lives in a war-torn country

The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered for generations from conflict between armed groups, especially in the north of the country along the border with Rwanda.

According to a BBC report “the UN estimates that more than 120 militias operate across eastern DR Congo, which is rich in minerals often exploited by the armed groups”.

Nevertheless, there have been several generations of Arabica coffee farmers on Idjwi island in Lake Kivu, where the geography and climate are ideal for the crop.

And a new project in the area has sprung up that is helping to change the lives of those who want to leaver the conflict and fighting behind.

Former combatants here have come from Masisi in DR Congo’s North Kivu province to join the project helping them to settle and work on the coffee farms.

According to the BBC report “Almost 2,400 former fighters are employed as farmers on Idjwi by the Co-operative Company of Innovative Coffee producers in Kivu (SCPNCK). They are mostly former militia fighters”.

The project was started in 2012 as part of a peace initiative and “helps ex-combatants to make their own money and not from kidnapping or rape.” The co-operative receives government funding and now sells its beans around the world including the US, France and Belgium.

You can read the full BBC report here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-61269602

…coffee to make you smile
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