The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has presented its 2014 Sustainability Award to the UK-based ethical trading organisation, Twin, for their project Congo Coffee Revival: Regenerating Communities by Linking Remote Farmers to Mainstream Markets. Twin set out to engage new producers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and help them access value-added markets for the first time. Twin’s first partnership was with Sopacdi, a coffee cooperative in this region, which had 284 members and was in need of support, capacity building and access to international markets. Since 2008 Twin has worked to build production and export capacity for this cooperative, including coffee farm rehabilitation, processing infrastructure, and business and governance capacity. Today, the cooperative has 5,200 members, including 1,450 women, and has constructed the country’s first modern coffee washing station in 40 years. Twin also partnered with the UK supermarket, Sainsbury’s, and the roaster Finlays under a Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH), funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Comic Relief in 2009. The collaboration brought together a wealth of industry expertise to support marginalized producers with training and new facilities to improve quality, as well as provide access to mainstream markets and product development. In 2011, Sainsbury’s successfully launched a DRC and Malawi blend that included Sopacdi’s coffee. This project has made coffee a commercially viable and attractive crop for farmers who had largely abandoned or neglected fields, as well as providing regular income to families and young people in an area where formal employment opportunities are very scarce. The award will be presented to the winners at the annual SCAA Event in Seattle in April. Image courtesy of the Twin project. For more information, click here.