Karambi Mountain 335
Black currant, hibiscus, peppermint, lychee, buttery with deep herbal notes.
Just a few miles inland from Kirambo at the edge of Lake Kivu, is the Karambi washing station, named after the nearby village and surrounding sector. Tucked onto steep and largely inaccessible slopes, the site is just over an area of 2.5 hectares. Station manager Anton and accountant Claude greeted us on a hot and humid day. The air was thick with moisture after the rains of the night before. Geckos skittered across rocks on the walk to the site, and the helicopter thrum of a locust taking off nearby filled the air.
Karambi was established in 2016 and RTC took ownership the following year. 4 staff are employed full time with the addition of 60 further staff during the harvest, of whom 90% are women. 1500 farmers contribute cherry to the station and all have successfully participated in RTC’s training program. Since 2017, annual production has doubled from 220 tons of cherry processed to an expected 400+ this year. At the time of our visit at the end of May 2022, the station was on 292 tons processed. The farms surrounding Karambi are all within 3 kilometres of the station, located on steep slopes. On average farms are 4 hectare in size, with approximately 8000 trees per farm.
The reason that production volume at Karambi was relatively low this year, when compared to other stations of a similar size, is because the station shares local farmers with neighbouring station Gesharu.
In many of Rwanda’s coffee growing regions, the government has sought to ensure local farmers have access to supply chains through expanding the number of washing station facilities in a given area through the Coffee Value Chain Development Project, an initiative co-funded by the European Union. Consensus opinion seems to be that while this creates more access and opportunities for farmers to sell cherry, it can be counter productive for washing stations and exporters who must compete for volumes of cherry. Read more about RTC's farmer training program here: https://www.falconcoffees.com/agronomy-training-program-in-rwanda/