Murundo People’s Farm
Producer: Smallholder farmers organized around the Murundo coffee washing station
Growing Elevation: 1700-1900 Meters
Processing: Fully Washed. Dried on Raised Beds.
Certifications: Microlot 4
Region: Nyamasheke District, Western Province, Rwanda
This lovely coffee comes from smallholder farmers in the boutique Kivubelt group of western Rwanda that contribute their coffee cherry to the Murundo Coffee Washing Station. This washing station is one of two washing stations owned by Kivubelt, a company whose goal is sustainability in agriculture as well as being impactful in local employment and empowerment. Kivubelt was founded by native Rwandan Furaha Umwizey in 2011 and began with the acquisition of 200 scattered acres of farmland in Gihombo, a community in Rwanda’s Nyamasheke district that runs along the central shoreline of Lake Kivu. Under Umwizey’s leadership, Kivubelt has planted 90,000 coffee trees on their estates, which now employ more than 400 people during harvest months and act as a kind of coffee vocational school for local smallholders interested in improving their farming. After establishing their own coffee estates, Kivubelt acquired 2 local washing stations to purchase coffee produced by surrounding smallholders, often grown at higher elevations than their own farms. Murundo Coffee Washing Station (Murundo CWS) is one of them, and the coffee produced here has come to be known as “People’s Farm” coffee, a clever way of illustrating the collective nature of a tight-knit smallholder community. Kivubelt offers quality premiums and training programs for participating farming families and promotes the idea of teamwork, acknowledging that when acting together, a collective of smallholder farmers can have the same commanding presence as a large single estate.
The Nyamasheke district in Rwanda is gifted in terroir. The cool, humid climates of both Lake Kivu and the Nyungwe Forest National Park keep precipitation and groundwater abundant throughout the uniquely steep, hilly region. Kivu itself is part of the East African Rift whose consistent drift creates volcanic seepage from the lake’s bottom and enriches the surrounding soils. Coffees from this region are often fuller, jammier in balance and more layered than in the rest of the country. We find this to be uniquely true of this particular lot of coffee.