DRC’s Once-Dominant Coffee Industry Struggles To Survive
An island of hills rises from the heart of Lake Kivu, a misty oasis where some of the world’s best Arabica coffee grows.
This reliable, high-altitude climate on the edge of DRC and Rwanda has made conditions favorable for generations of families to hand down coffee plantations from father to son. Until now.
Erneste Kakesa, a 42-year-old father of seven, follows in the footsteps of his ancestors. He learned how to pick the bright red coffee cherries from his father; harvest season was his favorite time of year. But cascading problems, including warming temperatures, lack of government investment and safety concerns, have hampered the industry and threatened its future. Once the second most important export in the country, the coffee market has sunk to near nonexistence.