Rutsiro is one of the seven districts that form the Western Province of Rwanda, and includes a portion of Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes within its boundary. A country that is predominantly young and rural in population, it has one of the highest population densities in Africa and is one of the very few countries with a female majority in government. The Provinces were reorganized in 2006, reducing twelve to five, and reducing 106 districts in to thirty.
Coffee is commonly grown by smallholders who heavily rely on communal collection points for the cherry to be transported quickly and efficiently to the local washing station. Infrastructure therefore plays a large part in the effectiveness of this. There are two wet and dry seasons in the country, with good quality coffee available over a large harvest season, though the recent changes in rainfall patterns caused by climate change have led to flooding and landslides, causing the closure of roads and destruction of bridges. Temperatures are lower than expected for an equatorial country due to the high elevation, and this is more noticeable in the Northern and Western Provinces over the lower lying east.
The washing station belongs to the Cooperative, which is formed of 368 members that contribute cherry under the watchful eye of Ms. Dusabe Maria Odette. Processing here is the same as most of the country in that it goes through an initial fermentation stage before being cleaned and refermented in bright blue painted tanks, here that is over a 36-hour period. Beans are then dried on raised beds before being stored in a secured warehouse – eliminating the problem of theft that has traditionally been an issue. Dry milling is conducted at the NAEB facilities in Kigali before being bagged for export.
With a countrywide crop predominantly formed of Bourbon, this can be broken down further to find BM139 and BM71 as the common plantings in the country. Introduced from the collection of Mayaguez in Puerto Rico to the germplasm collection in Mulungu, and from there to Rwanda in the early 1950’s, the varietal has played an important part in new selections and releases.
Country | Rwanda
Province | Western
District | Rutsiro
Sectors | Musasa
Farm | Members of Coocamu Musasa Cooperative
Altitude | 1400-1600 masl
Varieties | Bourbon
Harvest Period | March – June
Process | Washed
SCA | 83