JURU COFFEE HISTORY
Juru coffee ltd started as a Cooperative of coffee farmers in 2009. The Cooperative “Juru Coffee Cooperative” was built on a multi-generational coffee farming tradition of members and their families. “Juru” name comes from the location of its main production plants, JURU Cell of Gahini Sector in Kayonza District. Juru is a Kinyarwanda origin word meaning sky or heaven. The cooperative was started by a Promoter as a sustainable way to economically and socially support the community where he was born, during the economic recession caused by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
ABOUT THE PROMOTER
The promoter was the only child in his family to go to university and probably the first in the whole extend family for many years. After university, he got a job in Kigali; and used to go back home to visit parents and relatives. Relatives and other community members would come to see him and every one was exposing problems in order to get support. This situation made him think of a project that would help people in a sustainable way. The first idea was coffee farming being born in a family that had a coffee farming tradition as his father also had a small coffee farm where him and his siblings used to work during holidays. After selling the coffee the father could pay their school fees and fulfill their basic needs.
‘I remember when I visited Kigali for the first time in 1978 going to visit my Grandparents and other extended family members in the Northern Province in the current Rulindo District, there is two things I can never forget seeing lots of buildings, Fancy cars and a long queue of trucks at RWANDEX. When I asked my elder brother, he told me that the trucks were currying coffee.’
“-The promoter saying-“
Juru Coffee ltd Growth
Luckily most of the families had coffee farms even though most of them were small and not well taken care of. The first step was to improve and extend coffee farms, and the best way was to organize farmers into a coffee farming cooperative; Juru Coffee Cooperative. The second action taken was to hire an Agronomist to assist farmers to improve farming practices and easily channel NAEB support. (NAEB: Rwanda National Agricultural Export Board)
In 2010 some farmers among cooperative members put means together and a 15 ha land was bought on which coffee trees were planted in order to have a single state farm where it is easy to apply best coffee farming practices, serve as a farmer field school and later start agro-tourism based on coffee farming; a project which we keep in our plan.
In 2013, Juru coffee cooperative members managed to build a coffee washing station near the consolidated coffee farm; with a loan contracted in a bank.
Unfortunately, with a little knowledge in coffee business, exportation and international market coffee, prices dropped in 2013 and 2014. The cooperative has had a deep loss and couldn’t pay back the loan from the bank. Due to this, most of coffee farmers, member of the cooperative decided to abandon coffee processing and export business and stayed in production only. To save that situation, some cooperative members took responsibility of buying the loan by giving their properties as collaterals to the bank, and free the rest of cooperative members (farmers) from the loan; for them to stay only in production of coffee.
Juru coffee ltd, was registered as a company with shareholders, all of them members of the cooperative. Juru coffee ltd has the responsibility to provide support to members of the cooperative who supply coffee cherries, and most importantly buy coffee cherries produced by farmers; producing coffee cherries is one thing and selling is the most important because ripe cherries can’t be kept even one day after harvesting. It is very important for a coffee farmer to have where to sell his/her ripe cherries and at a fair price.
Support to Farmers
Juru coffee ltd support to farmers consists of:
- Technical assistance by a permanent Agronomist
- Promote skills of coffee farmers and develop the next generation of farmers in the family traditions through training and field visit to learn from best practices
- Annually prepare coffee nursery and distribute coffee, and shade trees seedlings to farmers in need for replacement and expansion of farms
- Provide farming material and inputs
- Buy coffee cherries produced by farmer at a fair price
- Organize second payment (bonus) to encourage farmers when the balance sheet is positive after selling green coffee
- Provide micro loans to farmers (members of the cooperative), to enable them to improve and extend their farming in collaboration our coffee buyer from the Netherlands (Pure Africa Coffee)
- Contribute to the development of the community where we operate