Producer Profile: Dukunde Kawa Cooperative

Producer Profile: Dukunde Kawa Cooperative

The Dukunde Kawa Cooperative produces some of our most loved Rwandan coffees and we are proud to have been working with them since 2015. The cooperative has played a transformative role in the Rwandan specialty coffee industry, shifting the focus away from quantity towards quality. Nestled in Rwanda’s rugged Northern Province, Dukunde Kawa owns three washing stations, has over 1000 contributing members and operates a variety of social programs.

We had the joy of visiting the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative in 2023, spending time with Managing Director Ernest Nshimyimma, President Celestin Mubera and Odette Murakatete, the founder of the all-women association Rambagirakawa, as well as many other cooperative members. After buying coffees from Dukunde Kawa for years, it was an absolute privilege to meet them and see all of their innovative work.

Established in 2000, Dukunde Kawa built its first washing station, Ruli, in 2003, followed by Mbilima and Nkara in 2005. Their three washing stations overlook beautiful landscapes ideal for coffee production. Today, Ruli is their largest washing station and headquarters, housing a dry mill, model farm, community room, roastery and dedicated cupping lab. Ruli has recently become Fair Trade certified, Rainforest Alliance certified and UTZ certified, an exciting move that extends their coffee’s reach.

Dukunde Kawa members are predominantly small-scale producers, typically owning less than a quarter of a hectare of land each. By selling their coffee to the cooperative, members are able to combine their harvests into lots big enough for export, with Ruli’s dry mill enabling those with large enough harvests to process and market their lots separately.

They embrace an innovative, dynamic approach to coffee production, constantly seeking new ways to enhance their members’ lives. Dukunde Kawa provides training, healthcare and school fee support, discounted fertilisers and organic pesticides. Additionally, they operate a dairy refrigeration facility and pasteurisation machine, generating off-season income opportunities for members.

In 2019, they opened a community room for Rambagirakawa members, an all-women alliance within Dukunde Kawa, that provides invaluable resources and support for female coffee producers, many of whom were widowed in the 1994 genocide. Rambagirakawa members generate off-season income with incredibly beautiful basket weaving, as well as combining and processing coffee harvests together and extending their coffee’s reach.

The cooperative produces some of our most loved Rwandan coffees and processes some exceptional single producer lines. Some favourites here at Redbrick include Andre Hakizimana, a lot we’ve been purchasing since 2019, as well as Ruli natural and Anastase Minani, to name a few.

In Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s official language), ‘Dukunde Kawa’ means ‘love coffee’, a name chosen to represent the transformational power of coffee to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farming families in rural Rwanda. We are incredibly proud to be working with Dukunde Kawa.


Back to blog