AFCA 2019 - Specialty Coffees at the Heart of Africa

Energised by results and ready to engage the market, Congolese government officials, cooperatives, exporters, and associations joined coffee industry experts, buyers, and thought leaders from February 13-15 the 17th annual African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) conference and celebration of African coffees.

Tim Schilling (World Coffee Research), Philippe de la Ketulle (Bolloré) and Thibault Huart (Tropicore International) participate in the Congo Coffee Breakfast. Image courtesy of ASSECCAF.

Tim Schilling (World Coffee Research), Philippe de la Ketulle (Bolloré) and Thibault Huart (Tropicore International) participate in the Congo Coffee Breakfast. Image courtesy of ASSECCAF.

 DRC was well-represented by several booths featuring cooperatives and industry associations. Among them were representatives from Kalehe Arabica Coffee Cooperative (KACCO), Global Coffee Services, a leading Congolese service provider, and l'Initiative des Femmes dans le Café & Cacao (IFCCA), DRC’s premier association representing the interest of women throughout the coffee (and cocoa) value chains.

 During the 2 full days, as coffee buyers and members of the global coffee industry circulated through the iconic Kigali Convention Centre, they were met by members of DRC’s thriving specialty coffee sector. Exchanges on progress and opportunity often turned to furthering the Café Femme model—one that is built on community-driven efforts to produce, harvest, process and make available coffees that are exclusively managed by women from end-to-end.

 In addition, Congolese stakeholders were invited to host a dedicated Congo Coffee Breakfast.

Image courtesy of Kivu Coffee

Image courtesy of Kivu Coffee

 Organised by leadership from AFCA’s DRC Chapter and Café Africa, the session was widely attended, capturing the attention of existing and interested buyers, World Coffee Research, various technical assistance programs, and most importantly, the producers, exporters, and Congolese government officials driving DRC’s continued progress. This translated to commitments by Square Mile Coffee Roasters, discussion around IFCCA’s recently launched line of branded Café Femme coffees, and the proliferation of Café Femme throughout the market (i.e. Kivu Coffee Muungano #3 - All Women Farmed Coffee).

Julie K. Kamungele, IFCCA President and IWCA Representative joins fellow IWCA representatives, Sara Yirga (Ethiopia) and Ann Mayanja (Uganda) at the Sustainable Growers Forum at AFCA 2019. Image courtesy IWCA’s Blanca Castro.

Julie K. Kamungele, IFCCA President and IWCA Representative joins fellow IWCA representatives, Sara Yirga (Ethiopia) and Ann Mayanja (Uganda) at the Sustainable Growers Forum at AFCA 2019. Image courtesy IWCA’s Blanca Castro.

 The first of two major developments to cap things off was that IFCCA was invited to participate on a panel during the Sustainable Growers Farm Business Forum. The second was that the International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA) signalled that IFCCA’s petition is in the final accreditation process—the final step that will usher in IFCCA’s role as the DRC representative to IWCA. Maintaining momentum, IFCCA and IWCA DR Congo were invited to submit samples to participate in April’s cupping competition during the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Expo in the United States.

 Looking ahead, DRC is finalising plans for the 5th Annual Saveur du Kivu (SduK), Congo’s premier specialty coffee conference and cupping competition held in Bukavu in June.

 To learn more about SduK, register, sponsor, and plan your visit to join stakeholder workshops, field visits, and linkage facilitating sessions, please visit www.saveurdukivu.org.  We hope to see you there!

Think coffee. Think Congo.

ÉLAN RDC