Monday, September 25, 2017

Paying Women Coffee Producers Their "Due"

25. September 2017
Therese UWIMANA - President of Ejo Heza

At Artisan Coffee Imports we're proud to celebrate International Coffee Day on September 29, with the announce- ment of a ground-breaking partnership with a women's cooperative in Rwanda - the Ejo Heza cooperative (a group under the umbrella of KOPAKAMA) in Rutsiro, Western Province.

This 2017 harvest year, Artisan Coffee Imports signed a contract with the cooperative, co-signed by Therese UMWIMANA, the president of Ejo Heza, agreeing to pay a 30 cent premium on each kilogram of green coffee Artisan purchases (= 13.6 cents/lb. green coffee). This amount of money will be awarded to all the women of the Ejo Heza group on top of the second payment all the members of the KOPAKAMA cooperative receive. The premiums will be awarded at Ejo Heza's general assembly held every year in October.

Ruth Ann Church, Artisan's president and "chief relationship officer", still remembers the day in early May 2017 when she negotiated this contract (through a translator) with Ms. UWIMANA and Frederic HAKIZIMANA, the director of the KOPAKAMA washing station. "I'm sure it's the first time any Westerner had requested Therese to be present in a business meeting to negotiate contract terms," Church says. "The discussion got deep into the tiny details of dollars per KG and Rwandan franc per lb. parchment. I remember being concerned for Therese, whose daughter was very ill and Therese herself looked sick with worry. She had to leave her baby with a friend to come meet us. But she brightened up when we put the numbers into terms she knew very well."

"This will result in paying you and the Ejo Heza women 40 RWF/KG cherry," Church explained when she finally had enough figures in her spreadsheet to make the calculation.  UWIMANA's eyes grew wide. The price per kilogram of cherry in Rwanda this season was around 270 RWF/KG. A common premium for cherry in Rwanda is 22 RWF/KG cherry (8% of base price), and only about 20% of farmers in Rwanda ever see any premium at all. So not only is Artisan re-enforcing KOPAKAMA's "best practice" of paying a premium, Artisan is paying the women close to double what many farmers receive as a second payment.

"I could see some of the care and concern melt away from Therese's face when I told her that number,"  Church says. "It was wonderful to see it replaced with her beautiful smile!"

For samples of this amazing coffee, contact Artisan Coffee Imports via their contact page, or call seven-three-four, 717-6278.

Ruth Ann Church with Therese and Olive & beautiful Rwandan horizon!
Coffee cherry picked by Therese

Beatrice, Olive and Therese - leaders of Ejo Heza

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