This coffee was processed at a washing station called Murundo which is privately owned by Furaha Umwizeye.
Umwizeye, who was born in Rwanda, completed a Master’s degree in economics in Switzerland, but was motivated to return to Rwanda after the genocide, to contribute in a positive way to the society and economy.
“From the beginning, our goal was to produce a coffee of high quality for the specialty market. To ensure the best quality, one has to have control of the production process. Traditionally in Rwanda, coffee washing stations and coffee farms are not vertically integrated. The ownership is separated. Coffee washing stations rely on multiple small coffee farmers for their supply of cherries [who typically only own 100–300 coffee trees].
"We identified that to ensure the same high quality year after year, one has to be able to control how the coffee trees are being produced and harvested.”
Today, Umwizeye has planted over 80,000 coffee trees across three farms near Lake Kivu: Jarama, Kamajumba (located on an island on Lake Kivu), and Nyaruzina. Together they’re called "Kivu Belt.”
She now resides in New York with her Swiss husband, returning to Rwanda frequently during the harvest. The farms are managed by a team including Chief Agronomist Gaspar Nsengimana, managing director Claudeen Kantengwa, and Murundo washing station manager Vicky Sempotore.
In total the three Kivu Belt project farms have 18 permanent workers and 130 seasonal workers. Umwizeye is constantly rewarded by her coffee farm project and seeing the direct impact that her business has on the region and its people.
Since the genocide of 1994, coffee has come to represent a symbol of recovery and regrowth for Rwanda.