Sainsbury’s to launch Fairtrade coffee from Democratic Republic of the Congo and Malawi

Sopacdi Fairtrade Ground Coffee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will launch in Sainsbury’s as part of their Taste the Difference range, following a three-year project managed by a consortium of commercial and non-profit partners. Twin, the ethical trading organisation working with smallholders in Africa and Latin America, joined forces with Sainsbury’s and the roasters Finlays to develop new origins from the DRC and Malawi. Sopacdi is at the forefront of a coffee revival in the DRC’s war ravaged eastern highlands, where the rich soils and altitudes create ideal conditions for premium-grade Arabica production. Due to economic mismanagement, coffee exports declined following independence and collapsed when civil war split the region along ethnic lines, sparked by the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Unable to sell their crops at a fair price and desperate for money, many producers had little choice but to smuggle their coffee across Lake Kivu into Rwanda to trade, thousands drowning in the attempt. This tragedy, in combination with the conflict, has left behind countless coffee widows struggling to earn a living. To support female empowerment programs, Sopacdi adds US2 cents per pound on the sale of its coffee. To date this has raised around US$15,000 to support a women’s committee and small business ventures run by women. Money from the Fairtrade premium goes to fund much needed renovation work to improve processing facilities and increase productivity and quality.

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