The Gasharu Coffee Company has Baltimore roots with the owners son, Jean Christophe Rusatira, living in Baltimore and working at Johns Hopkins in Public Health.
Rwanda’s Muhororo Washed coffee tells a deeper story than that of a regular diner cup of joe. The town and district of Nyamasheke was devastated after the Rwandan genocide began in 1994, leaving approximately 10% of the Tutsi population alive in the area. With a new nationalist identity of Rwanda, the Gasharu Coffee Cooperative was founded in 1998 after the genocide. The cooperative has flourished from small beginnings of 380 coffee trees to over 8,500 trees, 2 washing stations, and 1 processing mill, and is now the coordinated efforts of over 500 families
One of the aforementioned washing stations is Muhororo, which has 6 full-time employees and about 150 seasonal workers, their workforce being made up of seventy percent women. The operation boasts fair wages for its workers, encouraging microloans for their workers; enabling better access to education and healthcare.
Coffee acts as a beneficial cash crop for the Western Province, where Muhororo coffee is from. In an effort to rebuild after the genocide the Rwandan government created programs like the National Agricultural Exportation Board (NAEB), founded in 2011, which sets standards for producing high-quality goods, like coffee, and connecting managers of these farms and operations to exporters willing to purchase products for fair prices.
Families that contribute to this cup of Muhororo coffee are primarily subsistence farmers of maize, bean, and cassava. They average about 85 pounds of green coffee beans a family each year. In the scheme of an agribusiness, 85 pounds of coffee is negligible. However, coffee naturally exists among the landscape of these farms, so that it is minimal upkeep for farmers while they tend to their other crops, acting as a reliable form of extra income that supports the multifaceted biodiversity of their farming operations.
500 Family Farms