An emphasis on high-quality Arabica coffee is just gaining a foothold among producers here, as until recently a long established Robusta economy has been more prevalent.
The country itself is the fourth most-heavily populated on the continent, and is the second-largest nation in Africa as well. Despite the high population, resources such as roads, potable water, and electricity are scarce.
Joachim Munganga, founded SOPACDI in 2003 by restoring a washing station in the area, providing service and market access to the growers in these extremely remote highlands. Before he undertook this work, farmers had little to no means to transport coffee to the markets, and instead were forced to simply barter their coffee locally for food, clothing, and necessities. The cooperative was the first to achieve Fair Trade certification in Congo, and the coffee also carries organic certification.
Political & economic unrest over the past few decades has made speciality coffee growing & sourcing a challenge. But projects, organizations & cooperatives such as SOPACDI, are actively working to improve networks & infrastructure to bring top-quality lots to the international market.
Coffee is grown in most of the country, spread throughout its seven provinces, & is a significant cash crop (although most of what is grown & exported is either full Robusta or not speciality quality).
However, investment projects & direct-sourcing projects are contributing to a general increase in profile & availability of speciality coffees, so the next few years look very hopeful for Congolese coffees.
Growing Regions - Ituri, Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu
Common Varieties - Bourbon, Bourbon Mayaguez, other Bourbon derivatives
Processing Method/s - Washed
Harvest Period - March–July (main); September–January (fly)