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Muungano and CPNCK are two organic and Fair Trade coffee cooperatives in South Kivu, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Muungano is located three hours south of Goma on the steep shores of Lake Kivu, while CPNCK operates on Idjwi Island, a large island of green hills in the middle of the lake. Both cooperatives demonstrate remarkable resilience and produce high-quality coffee despite limited infrastructure, transport challenges, and insecurity in this protracted conflict area. The region’s high altitude and volcanic soil offer perfect conditions for cultivating Arabica coffee. Coffee farmers take advantage of high plant diversity to use agroforestry methods that combine shade and fruit trees with coffee plants. This enables them to naturally fertilize the soil, reduce runoff, and diversify their revenue sources. With the support of international NGOs, Muungano and CPNCK have promoted these sustainable agricultural practices and provided technical support (training and monitoring, small equipment, variety experiments, etc.) to their affiliated farmers. CSAF members Root Capital and SIDI have been financing Muungano since 2013 and 2015, respectively. Root Capital has also provided capacity building on financial management while SIDI is promoting sustainable farming practices. This combined support has enabled Muungano to triple its revenue and increase the number of supplying farmers from 2,300 to 4,000 (41% of them women) in the last five years. In 2019, SIDI became the first international lender to CPNCK and Root Capital has recently provided financial management training to the cooperative as well. An independent study has shown that coffee represents the majority of farming revenues in the region, and that sustainable farming systems such as those managed by CPNCK’s and Muungano’s members have been 40% more productive per hectare than more conventional ones. In 2021, SIDI is gathering staff from both cooperatives for a workshop to discuss how to further align and incentivize environmental and economic performance—for example, through coffee premiums or pay-for-results mechanisms linked to sustainable farm practices.

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