The third coffee this season from the Izuba washing station is this classic natural. This follows the washed and the special process anoxic natural which were both excellent this year. Izuba means “sun” in Kirundi, the dialect of the local Kabarore Commune in the well known coffee growing Kayanza Province.
The Izuba washing station is set close to a river, providing a vital fresh water source for coffee processing. The station provides premiums where possible to not only the farmers but also to station staff. Once the coffee has been processed, the coffee pulp is turned into a natural fertiliser as it degrades. Once ready, it is distributed to local farmers to add nutrients to their soil.
At Izuba our import partner Raw Material purchase cherries from smallholder producers in the area, then process the cherry into washed, honey, and natural coffees. Through processing stations, they guarantee the prices paid to producers, and increase the value of the coffee through high attention to detail and quality control. This ensures the highest quality coffee and greatest profitability for producers.
Last year, almost none of the households around Izuba washing station had health insurance. In Burundi this season, RM have focussed on ensuring all families delivering cherries receive full health insurance. This initiative was revealed as the most effective and desired thing they could do from a long list of possible activities following interviews with the community. This season, Izuba employees were paid 25% higher than local stations; 33% more than the national average.
Naturals take around 30 days of drying time on the raised beds. The potato defect prevalent in this part of Africa is tackled firstly through very thorough floating of cherries and then primarily by extensive wet sorting (this is the hand sorting that takes place under cover when the coffee has just been pulped and is still wet, where the potato defect beans are most visible at this point).
Producers are paid for cherry on two set payment dates in the year, which are also set by the government. The first is usually in April, very early in the harvest, and the second at the end of the harvest. Farmers essentially choose which station they will sell to that year through the first payment then deliver there for the whole season. At the end of the season third payments are made based on the quality and final sale price of the coffee.
Making these three payments on time is a key concern for producers and one of Izuba's primary goals in supporting producers.