In February 2011 we launched a limited edition Fairtrade coffee for Fairtrade Fortnight and Comic Relief. This was the first gourmet coffee to come from the Democratic Republic of Congo for over forty years and was produced thanks to a fund set up in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID), Comic Relief, Finlays and Twin Trading.
The finest Arabica coffee used in this blend is produced by the farmers of Mzuzu Co-operative Union in Malawi and Sopacdi, a farmer organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Previously, most of the Arabica coffee produced in this area of the Democratic Republic of Congo had been smuggled out of the country due to lack of formal market opportunities. Mzuzu faced challenges where the established agricultural system was overly dependent on expensive inorganic fertilisers and vulnerable to changing climate conditions. To maintain the quality and increase the yields of this coffee in the long term, we worked with Sopacdi and Mzuzu farmers to strengthen their cooperative businesses and develop more sustainable production systems. By adding value to their coffee and receiving a good price, the farmers, their families and communities are able to build a better future.
"Trading with a large UK retailer will make a big difference to the livelihoods of farmers in Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a step towards the two countries being more widely recognised as coffee growing nations."
Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development