Latumba washing station is along the shores of Lake Kivu, one of the Great Lakes of Africa, resting 1700masl. AMKA CO-OP has a total of 1,400 members who are rebounding from decades of conflict and an economic crisis. The washing station was built in 2014 with the help of a Belgian NGO COMEQUI who have been working in the region since 2009 to empower coffee farmers through education, improved picking, processing as well as creating co-operatives to bring the people together. Their goal is to help the farmers become self-sustainable whilst improving their income and lives.
As part of the program, COMEQUI established 9 decentralised nurseries, which has handed out 400,000 free coffee plants to the local farmers giving them access to some excellent varietals such as Blue Mountain.
The coffee in this region is organic as there is no use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers on the trees.*
In 2014 the CO-OP produced 50,000kg in 2015 and this increased to 60,000kg with a further improvement expected this year. At the Latumba Station there has also been the installation of an Eco-pulper to help deliver and produce fully washed coffees. Once the coffee has been collected and delivered to the station it is de-pulped and then undergoes an initial wet fermentation for 12-18 hours before being flowed through channels where the coffee is separated according to density. The coffee then undergoes another soaking period of 12 hours before being dried on raised African beds for 12-16 days depending on the weather. The coffee is then transported to the Coffelac dry mill in Goma where it is rested and milled. The long journey of 20 days can then begin from East Central Africa out to the Mombasa for shipment. This information really highlights the many steps involved to get the green bean from such countries, before it even gets to the port for shipping.
*Note: Many such co-operatives are unable to afford the expense of having their produce certified organic. Nevertheless, we are completely satisified that this produce is pesticide-free.