Recognising that each country faces it's own unique challenges, Raw Materials partnered with Muraho Trading Co to develop a fixed price payment model specific to the value chain in Rwanda. This model creates incentives to generate producer buy-in while maximising impact and profits. Muraho Trading Co have washing stations in Nyamasheke, Gakenke, and Nyabihu regions of Rwanda, which is where Raw Material source coffee from.
Rugali - Nyamasheke District, Rwanda
Built in April 2016, Rugali coffee washing station sees an annual production of approximately 54,000kg of milled green coffee each year. The drying conditions at Rugali are ideal for ensuring optimal post-pulp drying, where coffee is laid on the drying beds between 12pm and 3pm, to ensure maximum exposure to the sun during the warmest time of the day.
Kilimbi - Nyamasheke District, Rwanda
One of two first washing stations to be granted approval to produce natural and honey processed coffee in Rwanda by National Agricultural Export Development Board. The elevation of Kilimbi lends itself well to the production of exceptional honeys and naturals. Drying beds stretch across a large open plain, where airflow and sunlight have maximum exposure to the coffee as it dries.
Bumbogo - Gakenke District, Rwanda
Bumbogo Washing Station is located in the Gakenke district, an area known for high-quality coffee production in Rwanda. It is a highly competitive region, and home to several winning Cup of Excellence lots in recent years.
Shyira - Nyabihu District, Rwanda
Shyira Washing Station itself is situated at 1850 MASL and collects cherry from producers in the surrounding area between 2000 - 2400 MASL. This is definitely one of the highest-grown coffees in Rwanda.
In Colombia, Raw Material primarily work with associations made of small farm holders to expand their reach to as many producers as they can. They guarantee fixed margins to farmers and help them to access to the specialty market by providing quality control and access to information to buying roasters, like us!
Our partnership with the team at social enterprise, Raw Material, has unlocked an opportunity to support farming families in Colombia to achieve stable and sustainable prices. A critical step towards this is the establishment of Red ('network' in Spanish) Associations - allowing small scale producers to join forces for improved infrastructure, knowledge and resources.
Red Villamaria 30 families in the Villarazo region have come together under the Red Villamaria banner. This producer group built a dedicated drying station, with raised drying beds, located 500 meters down the mountain from their farms. This lower altitude offers hotter temperatures for faster, even drying, perfect for natural and honey processes and a general improvement of quality, ensuring higher value for the coffees.
Timor-Leste is one of the world’s youngest countries and has a tumultuous history. Dwindling oil production has seen a recent economic upheaval with agriculture, and in particular coffee production, set to be one of it’s most vital exports. Yield and quality are typically low for most Timor-Leste farmers but, with Raw Material’s help, they are raising coffee quality, increasing productivity and building international demand for their coffee. These initiatives ensure that producer incentives and payments are captured directly by those most marginalised.
Atsabe Wet Mill
This mill is a central hub for processing the cherry of the producers across the Ermera municipality. Sitting at 1400 MASL, the wet mill has served not only as a place to purchase, process, and dry cherry, but as a meeting point for the village chiefs and neighbourhood leaders, and Raw Material.
Expanding the reach of specialty coffee as a viable option for profitable returns includes the importance of training. The Atsabe Wet Mill has successfully served as the hub for training courses in both cultivation, picking, and processing for local producers.
Meet Ameta. He heads up much of Raw Material's work in Timor-Leste, having managed the construction of the Atsabe Wet Mill and took out 1st Place in the 2018 Coffee Quality Competition - all in one year!
Explorer's Cupping: Timor-Leste
Coffees from this relationship were featured in our June 2020 Explorer's Cupping. As well as enjoying three delicious coffees, Ben Bicknell and Lauren Stokes were joined by guests Matt Graylee and the Raw Material team to talk about their innovative approach to coffee development in Timor-Leste.
Read more and watch the interview here: Explorer Cupping: Timor Leste
Beyond The Cup
Raw Material are a social enterprise with 100% of the profit going to producers and community-level investments. Their entire business model focuses on improving both the cup of coffee, and what lays beyond!
Timor-Leste Flood Appeal
Devastating floods and landslides hit our close neighbour and emerging specialty coffee producer, Timor-Leste, over the Easter weekend, leaving 14,000 people homeless and without food or shelter. Included in those affected are the coffee farmers of Raimutin village who, like many others, are missing out on a government relief package that focuses only on the capital, Dili. The legends at Raw Material have stepped up to rally the much needed support for farming communities: we’ve been able to pitch in funds for a motorbike that will be used to deliver critical medical treatment, care packages and facilitate communication but much more help is needed!
Rwanda Landslide Appeal
Back in May 2020, devastating rains, flooding and mudslides swept through the coffee producing Nyabihu District in northern Rwanda with a tragic loss of 28 lives and wide spread damage. The legends at Raw Material along with Rwandan in-country representatives, Muraho Trading Co, kicked into action and pulled together some incredible well coordinated, speedy and impactful emergency responses. With a clear plan and direct communications from Raw Material, much of their wider coffee network, Five Senses included, donated to this, as well as participating in the Nyabibrew 2020 Fundraiser.
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Phase 1: Meet immediate needs– Completed!
- Clear 170 debris sites
- Distribute food (rice, maize flour, beans and sunflower oil) to 312 families
- Distribute care packages (gumboots, kitenge, towels, rain jacket, cooking pot) to 312 families
Phase 2: Support Recovery
Progress has begun and fundraising is still on going.
- Rebuild 35 houses
- Rebuild 10 non-residential buildings
- Replant 4,500 coffee trees
- Replant 15 hectares of beans and maize
- Replant 7 hectares of banana
- Replant 4 hectares of sweet potato and yams
- Replant 507 assorted fruit trees
- Provide income support 247 farmers whose livelihood will be lost or affected before these new crops harvest
Phase 3: Build Resilience
Aiming to find this area in a better condition than pre-flooding, Raw Material are planning simple upgrades to the housing which will greatly increase the health of the community. Things often taken for granted such as sealed floors (can reduce childhood diarrhea by 49% and parasitic infections by 28%), gas cooking stoves and solar power for lighting homes.