Cococa opens coffee plant

We have been collaborating with Cococa, the largest association of Burundi coffee cooperatives, since 2013.Now, they have their own coffee factory.

First own dry mill 

Cococa is an association made up of 33 Burundi coffee farmers' cooperatives. They employ a total of 27,000 people. The Belgian social investor Kampani has now decided to support the association. Kampani invested 193,000 euros in a coffee processing plant with its own dry mill, which opened in January 2016. This was necessary due to Cococa’s difficult position in the market, says Wouter Vandersypen, Kampani's CEO. "A lot of farmer's cooperatives are too small for the big players, and too large for microfinancing. This was the case with Cococa."

The production site will be called Horamama, and will be the first in Burundi to have its own dry mill. Before, people had to rely on third parties to process and stock the coffee beans for export. Now, they fully control this process themselves.

Investments on various levels

Horamama will mean a solid boost for Cococa. Because they will be integrating other steps in the production chain into their operating process, they will also improve their vertical integration. This has several advantages: both the quality control and the traceability of the coffee will improve. Cococa's CEO Ernest Ndumurara is very happy. "We now foresee a better service for our members, and we will also be a stronger player in the market."

A changing sector

Coffee production is an important sector in Burundi: it represents the livelihood of approximately 600,000 families. It is an existence that can be difficult, knows Alex Tack, Kampani co-shareholder and portfolio manager. "They produce high quality Arabica coffee beans, but have to make do with small plots of land. It is a hard life, and that needs to change. That is why vertical integration and initiatives such as Horamama are so important."

"The plant is a part of me"

Coffee farmer Marie-Goreth Nzeyimana is very enthusiastic about the project. "I consider the plant to be a part of me. For the first time in my life, I am so close to the manufacturing process. Before this, I had to travel very far, which cost me a lot of time. So for me, this is very advantageous."

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