The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) announced in mid-November that the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) has approved a project to help coffee farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo displaced by war. The project is aimed at improving the sustainable livelihoods of these coffee producers in the Eastern provinces of the country. The total cost of the project is US$1.61 million, made up of US$1.37 million from the CFC and $700,000 from the OPEC Fund for International Development. The project was submitted to the ICO by Congo's Office National du Café (ONC) in September 2008. It is a three year project, with the stated objective: “to contribute to the resettlement of coffee farmers displaced by war through rehabilitating coffee growing and improving its quality through the introduction of washed coffee processing. The creation of propagation and distribution centres together with the establishment of extension and support teams to make available to coffee farmers high performance cuttings, essential inputs and appropriate guidance.” From 1996 to 2000, coffee represented 11 per cent of Congo's total exports, as its first agricultural export. Coffee exports from the country have declined significantly, from 119,320 tonnes in 1989 to 7583 tonnes in 2003. In 2007, export volume was back up to just 12,033 tonnes, according to data submitted in the proposal. The document states that armed conflict is largely responsible for the drop, having “destroyed production infrastructures in plantations and forced populations to abandon their villages and their activities.” Through this project, the ONC is hoping to stimulate growers to return to coffee producing activities, to fight against poverty by improving the living conditions in affected areas.