Historically, Congo’s cocoa and coffee sectors have been strong and reliable for actors throughout the value chain. Unfortunately, systemic constraints, instability, crop-specific disease, and a number of other factors diminished gains, decimated crops, and slowed progress for coffee, once DRC’s second most valuable export, and cocoa, a historically strong crop and livelihood for hundreds of thousands from West to East.

However, in recent years, regulatory reforms, industry-wide coordinated efforts to promote the adoption and proliferation of best practices, and investments leading to the introduction of improved tools and equipment have dramatically shifted direction. Congo’s Robusta and Arabica crops are not only reemerging as stronger, more reliable, and of higher quality, the value chains and actors are ever more inclusive and collaborative.

Specialty Crops: Our Approach

Mindful of markets and targeting responsible growth and resilient value chains, ÉLAN RDC works alongside actors throughout the value chain to ensure that interventions are inclusive in design and beneficial to all from end-to-end.

In partnership with local, national, and international public and private sector actors, ÉLAN RDC’s Specialty Crops interventions support smallholder farmers, Market Systems Change (MSC), capacity building, and value addition at each level through:

Production: Promoting improved methods, standards, and processes to ensure consistent quality and volume. 
Processing: Supporting development, integration, and proliferation of enhanced systems, tools, and units.
Unlocking Finance: Facilitating linkages and market entry for social impact lenders as a means to access nuanced financial tools and mechanisms to support growth and mitigate risk.
Advocating for an Improved Regulatory Environment: Fostering collaboration, convening, and supporting actors to further progress towards an increasingly favorable export tax structure, efficient management, equitable relationships, and pro-growth business ecosystem and operating environment.
Marketing: Jointly marketing and promoting the DRC brand to bolster visibility for actors on all levels and at each point throughout the cocoa and coffee value chains, exposure in end markets, and encouraging trust through transparency by increasing the flow and quality of information locally, nationally, and internationally. To realize this, ÉLAN RDC supports a range of activities including: 

Facilitating End Market to DRC Market Linkages;
Access and Visibility at Key Industry Fora; and
Supporting Collaborative Industry-driven Workshops.

Market Systems Changes (MSC)

  1. Traders, Exporters and/or Processors Set-up Outgrower Schemes and Provide Extension Service to Smallholder Farmers
  2. Traders, Exporters, Processors Support Installation of Processing Equipment, Supporting Infra, and Value Adding Tools for Producers
  3. Financial Institutions Commercialize Credit Products Adapted to the Needs of Exporters, Traders, Cooperatives
  4. Industry Actors Organize to Develop, Promote Strategies to Stimulate Tax Decrease
  5. Exporters/Traders Promote/Ensure Congolese Coffee/Cocoa Marketing

Addressing constraints through each of the above market systems changes, teamed with a diversified approach to the delivery of technical assistance, in recent years, the quality and quantity of DRC’s cocoa and coffee crops has improved—making them increasingly sought-after products within international markets. In particular, production- and processing-level interventions targeting improved techniques and the availability and prolific use of equipment seek to realize uniform standards and methods to generate consistently higher grades and yields for both cocoa and coffee.

Beyond production, treatment and processing, ÉLAN RDC’s technical assistance targets various management and operational capacity building activities to ensure that actors at each level are equipped with the tools and resources required to effectively manage existing demand while positioning each well to anticipate market fluctuations and plan for the future. In line with these streamlined systems and processes which are geared towards further demonstrating exporter bankability, ÉLAN works with traditional financial institutions and social impact lenders to encourage linkages and develop new tools and products tailored for the cocoa and coffee sectors to support responsible growth on mutually attractive terms.

Bridging the final link to end markets and DRC’s improved perception as a reliable sourcing origin, ÉLAN’s cocoa and coffee strategies are rooted in the collective effort to bolster transparency and ensure the increased availability and flow of quality market information and general communications internally and externally along the entirety of the cocoa and coffee value chains. The Congo Coffee Atlas, a featured partnership between ÉLAN RDC and Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) is a leading example of how collective action can bring industry stakeholders together to dramatically increase the availability of key market detail and change the way decision makers engage with information. Welcome to the Congo Coffee Atlas!

Congo Coffee Atlas

Foreword - Excerpt in English

A resource designed to demystify, inform, and empower, the Congo Coffee Atlas was created to help you better understand the various coffee growing regions, zonal characteristics and flavor profiles, cooperatives who produce, and exporters bridging links to markets for Congo’s highly praised coffee. In addition, this shared tool integrates key market information that will allow you to navigate the landscape of opportunities, filter by zone, certification, quality, volume, and much more in order to satisfy curiosities or gather critical detail to make informed investment and sourcing decisions with confidence.

To know Congo is to know its people. In addition to details that outline market, producer, and exporter information, we are pleased to introduce you to a few of the hardworking Congolese people at the heart of this reemerging sector.

From the rich volcanic soils of the Petit Nord, to the shores of Ituri’s Lake Albert, through the vibrant coffee growing communities and ever-increasing offerings of top-quality Arabicas and Robustas, Congolese coffees are poised to take their place among the best in the world.

Quality, reliability, and opportunity are here. The Congo Coffee Atlas is your key to unlocking what Congolese coffee means to you.

Avant-propos - Extrait en Français

Une ressource conçue pour simplifier, informer et responsabiliser toutes les parties prenantes, l'Atlas du café du Congo a été créé pour vous aider à mieux comprendre les différentes régions productrices de café, les caractéristiques zonales et les saveurs, les coopératives qui produisent et les exportateurs qui mettent à la disposition du marché mondial, le café congolais tant apprécié . En outre, cet outil intègre des informations clés sur le marché du café qui vous permettront de naviguer dans un paysage d’opportunités, de filtrer par zone, par certification, par qualité, par volume et bien plus encore afin de satisfaire vos curiosités ou de recueillir des informations critiques qui permettront une prise de décision en connaissance de cause.

Connaître le Congo, c'est connaître son peuple. Ainsi, en plus des détails qui définissent les informations sur les marchés, les producteurs et les exportateurs, nous sommes heureux de vous présenter quelques-uns des congolais qui travaillent dur pour relancer ce secteur renaissant.

Des riches sols volcaniques du Petit Nord aux rives du lac Albert dans l’Ituri, en passant par des communautés de caféiers dynamiques et des offres toujours croissantes d'Arabicas et de Robustas de grande qualité, les cafés congolais sont en passe de prendre leur place parmi les meilleurs au monde.

Ici vous trouverez, qualité, fiabilité et opportunités. L'Atlas du café du Congo est la clé pour débloquer le potentiel du café Congolais.

Visit the Congo Coffee Atlas Dashboard to discover DRC's incredible coffee and actors behind it!

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Congolese Cocoa and Coffee in the News:

Market Studies