SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Development
Intégral) is an organization comprising more than 5,600 farmers, roughly 20 percent
of whom are women, located near Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Each farmer has a very small area of farmland for coffee (fewer than 2 hectares on
average), and tenders cherries to SOPACDI through the organization’s 10 collection
Joachim Munganga, who was a farmer himself, founded SOPACDI in 2003 by
restoring a washing station in the area, which provided service and market access
to the growers in these extremely remote highlands. Before he undertook this work,
farmers had little to no means to transport coffee to the markets, and instead were
forced to simply barter their coffee locally for food, clothing, and necessities. The
cooperative was the first to achieve Fair Trade certification in Congo, and the coffee
also carries organic certification. Members of the cooperative represent several
different ethnic groups, speaking Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, and Kihavu, and many of
the women members are widows.