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    UTZ logo is changing to the new Rainforest Alliance logo. Time to follow the frog!

    UTZ logo is changing to the new Rainforest Alliance logo. Time to follow the frog!

    As you will have seen, last year we started our relationship with UTZ, ensuring that we sourced all our coffee from UTZ certified farms, providing greater traceability again to the consumer. Our packaging changed to show the UTZ logo, giving confidence to the consumer that the coffee was sustainably sourced and that we as a business ensured we paid a fair price to coffee growers.

    In 2018 the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ joined forces to build an alliance to create a better future for people and nature by making responsible business the new normal. That’s why you will see the new Rainforest Alliance certification seal on our products. Just like the UTZ label, the Rainforest Alliance seal stands for farmers and companies working towards a world where people and nature thrive in harmony. It represents the next step in sustainability and is a signal that St Remio is committed to never stop getting better at what we do. We want to be transparent about our progress and share the responsibility with farmers and others in the supply chain to reach this mission.

    Did you know the Rainforest Alliance seal features a frog for an important reason? As one of nature's super indicator species, the presence of the frog is a positive sign that a natural ecosystem is balanced and thriving. When we no longer see the frog, we know that the environment is compromised and other species within that ecosystem will soon suffer if we don’t do something urgently. That’s why we ask you to follow the frog. By buying St Remio Coffee with the frog seal you help contribute to better farming practices, fight against the climate crisis, conserve our forests, protect the human rights of farmers and workers, and improve their livelihoods.

    You will start to shortly see some of our packaging transitioning to the new Rainforest Logo and overtime our whole range will feature the new logo allowing you to #followthefrog and again be assured you are purchasing sustainable coffee. We are committed to sustainable coffee and we are committed to supporting farmers. That is the St Remio difference.

    To learn more about Rainforest Alliance visit https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/

    World Coffee Day – 1 October. Make your coffee count!

    World Coffee Day – 1 October. Make your coffee count!

    This World Coffee Day, we are launching a new initiative to raise even more funds for the female farming community of Cocagi, Rwanda. We will be donating an addition 50c from every box of compatible capsules sold at all Coles Stores nationally (from our new Nespresso®* compatible Industrial Compostable & biodegradable range, as well as our Express®* and Caffitaly ®* range) directly to support and empower the female farmers of Cocagi Femme.

    We will also be running this program on line for the day as well and alongside the 50c from all compatible capsules sold via our online store, we will also donate $1 from all beans and ground coffee to the cause as well.

    Each year, our aim will be to grow this program, get more of our retailers on board and make this a big additional fundraising day for the community on top of our committed project funds.

    Our aim at St Remio has always been to change the conversation and to make consumers think about where their coffee is from and impact their coffee has on the lives of others. It is their livelihoods, it is funding the next generation and we need to ensure that not only do the farmers earn what they should for their coffee crops, but that we invest in their development and empower them in business so they have greater access and reach to international markets.

    We enjoy coffee anyway, so why not try St Remio today and allow your purchase to have a positive impact on this community! Thank you for your support!

    Click here to purchase your coffee directly from our online store

    Cocagi Project Update

    Cocagi Project Update

    Some time has passed since our last update on our Cocagi project and during that time they have certainly faced some challenges during from serious rains and of course, COVID-19.

    With the purchase of the new land, Cocagi Femme have been busy working two different plots of land, one plot that looks after a variety of different plants (for diversification of income) which includes tomatoes, beans, maize and sunflowers, and the second plot of land they have been busy preparing the land for the coffee plantation. This includes weeding, turning over the soil to prepare it for planting.

    During this time, of the 4 hectares, only one hectare of land has been prepared with the coffee seedlings. This was due to the fact that there were not enough good seedlings available at the time. Since then, a nursery has been set up to nurture the remaining coffee plants so that in time, the entire crop can be planted.

    Another challenge that has faced coffee farmers, and indeed all farmers, is global warming and the unpredictability of the seasons. Cocagi has faced some serious rains that unfortunately, damaged the tree tomato crops. The weather now poses challenges in farming and protecting the crops and the group continue to meet and discuss ways, methods to manage the unpredictable weather to ensure they are able to protect their plantation.  On top of this, COVID-19 also has had an impact, causing a delay in the additional training in the management of the sunflower and tree tomato crops. But these training sessions will be rescheduled so that the program can continue for Cocagi Femme.

    This next quarter will see the final preparation of the land in readiness for the remainder of the coffee seedlings.

    Farming is always very challenging. Cocagi Femme have had to work through some big challenges from weather to COVID-19 which as we know, has had serious impact across the entire world. A reminder of just how much goes into each cup of coffee you enjoy.

    We look forward to sharing another update with you all soon! Thank you for supporting St Remio and allowing us to fund projects like this with the support of Rainforest Alliance.

    Meet Jean Claude Bamporiki, Agronomist and Certification Manager for Cocagi

    Meet Jean Claude Bamporiki, Agronomist and Certification Manager for Cocagi

    Jean Claude was born in Congo and moved to Rwanda when he was 14 years old. His parents were originally from Rwanda, but they moved to Congo when they were 25 years old. Now, he is the Coffee Washing Station Manager, Agonomist and Certification Manager of Cocagi Coffee Cooperative in Rwanda. 

     

    • How long has the cooperative been UTZ certified?

    UTZ since 2019; RA since 2017

    • Are you part of any other programs?

    UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade. Working on achieving Organic Certification by 2020

    • Why become UTZ certified?

    Mainly because it would help us to get better access to markets, we want to sustain our coffee for the future. The certification program helps farmers to be trained in different topics, such as Good Agricultural Practices, coffee processing at the washing station, how to take care of the environment, working conditions, safety measures; and all kinds of management in general from the coffee plants to the coffee washing station.

    • What changes have you experienced from being UTZ Certified?

    We’ve experienced big changes! Now the farmers know how to treat their coffee plots in the right way. And they help their neighbours who’re not certified with being sustainable. We have learned how to harvest at the optimal time, to pick the right cherries, which improves the quality of the coffee. With this increased income we can send our children to school. We know how to manage waste and use manure to secure the house and the plot as well as for better soil management. We collect water and do not waste water

    For me the most important experience is that I am now better able to understand the environment, to manage the farm, to manage the institutions we have to deal with and to comply with the certification standards. Because all the certification standards have key elements that are the same, we are learning to comply with them and successfully implement them.

    I’m also applying what I learned in university in practice. I studied Agronomy at the Institut Supérieur Technique, Commercial Et Economique (ISTCE) in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Now I study Journalism online. I want to do more in the field of Advocacy. I want to do more for the people of Rwanda, I want to bring the problems our people face in our country to light and find solutions for them. For example, with many questions or problems people don’t know where to go – if the local government does something bad they don’t know who can help them. I want to help my people focus on agriculture to live well, improve their livelihoods.

    • What achievement are you most proud of and what is the next improvement you would like to achieve on your farm?

    We have better access to market. We have increased our knowledge than before we started with UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification. We definitely see an increase in production!

    I have also learned how to better manage the certification programs, because this was the first time for our cooperative and for me to manage UTZ and RA. There still are some challenges so I want to be better prepared to manage these. And I want all our farmers to join, because currently only 843 out of 1114 farmers are certified.

    Regarding challenges: there are some Critical Criteria within the standard that some auditors don’t interpret the way I interpret them, which creates misunderstandings. For example, this year we needed to have a first aid kit and the Control Point (CP) indicates it should be at a central collection point, whereas the auditor thinks we have to buy a kit for every coffee production zone. We have now agreed that we don’t have to buy a first aid kit for every production zone.

    Another challenge is that our farmers are old, the average age is 45 and youth doesn’t want to be involved with coffee farming. Therefore, we founded COCAGI Youth: we have trained and sensitized them. We have done a lot of awareness raising for coffee farming and we have trained them in other skills related to coffee, such as cupping, barista skills, and roasting. Three of our COCAGI Youth members are now working for different companies.

     

    • Do you notice you have better access to markets?

    We really noticed better access to markets. Last year we sold one Rainforest Alliance certified container and we already have one buyer asking for two containers of UTZ.

    • How has your doing business changed after becoming part of the UTZ program?

    It has helped us how we manage and trace our coffee. We know the traceability system, which helps us to access the markets. Because we have some buyers who are looking for specific qualities, for example some want to buy above 86 points and some want below that, so now we have learned these traceability techniques to classify and trace the coffee, which helps us to get in touch with relevant and interested buyers who want UTZ or RAC coffee of a certain quality.

    Our farmers know how to harvest better and farmers at the coffee washing station have improved their processing techniques to avoid contamination and maintain quality. We are more aware of the importance of quality to buyers!

    • What do you do with the UTZ premium? Do you invest in your business?

    We use the premium as the second payment to the farmers when their coffee is sold; they receive a first payment when they bring their coffee to the washing station (microcredit). Also, we have set up the Girinka program with the premium: we buy cows for families which they can use for milk and manure production. Furthermore, we have been able to use the premium to pay health insurance to our members and set up education funds. Education up until secondary is free in Rwanda, however students still need to pay the lunch fees. So,  the Education Fund helps our farmers to purchase school materials such as books and uniforms. For students with exceptionally high marks we help to send them to the School of Excellence in Kigali.

    The premium also supports Cocagi Femme. It’s an initiative by and for our women, where we put an amount of money for credit and saving. They also use it for small projects such as live stocking of pigs.

    COCAGI Femme: 5 women initiated COCAGI Femme and we now have 292 women in the group. They buy their own land for them and with the new projects their financial status will improve. They have been able to send their children to university, of which some have already finished. The chairwoman Annemarie has two children who finished and two more have just stared university. The men are happy with this program and encourage the women to continue with this. They advise if necessary and follow their progress.

    • What are your plans for the future?

    We want to see the incomes of our farmers increasing. We want to continue UTZ and Rainforest Alliance training to improve our farming practices. We also hope to get more projects like St Remio and we’re always looking for more buyers! We would like to continue strengthen our partnership with UTZ and Rainforest Alliance and we want to build strong relationships with other partners for the future!

    Update from the Cocagi Project

    Update from the Cocagi Project

    This year as you may remember, we have funded the purchase of 4 hectares of land and 12,000 coffee plants and other seedlings for the female cooperative of Cocagi. 

    Since we visited them and met the Cooperative in June this year, there are have been some updates that we wanted to share with you, after all, your purchase is making this wonderful opportunity possible for this community!

    They have since completed the transactions of the purchase of the land which is now all secured on behalf of Co-operative leader Anna-Marie. Now they have successful acquired the land, the team are busy preparing the ground so it is ready for planting in the wet season.

    The next project the group is focussed on is securing the 12,000 coffee seedlings so they will be ready to plant shortly alongside maintaining and managing the other fruit plantations currently established on the 4 hectares. This allows them to earn income while the coffee crop is being established.

    The Cocagi Femme lead farmers are also undergoing extensive training during this time learning how to better manage the crops to get a higher yield and high quality coffee cherry. They have held both formal classroom training alongside practical sessions to learn best practices across:

    • Pruning
    • Stumping
    • Mulching and how to reuse all clippings to add valued nutrients the ground

    In the next quarter, we will see the members of Cocagi Femme continue to prepare the land and plant the seedlings as well as ongoing maintenance of the existing fruits. They will also continue their training to enhance the output and establish stronger sustainable farming practices.

    We will continue to update you on this wonderful project and we are very excited to take you on this journey. Thank you again to the team at Rainforest Alliance for working with us and the Cooperative to keep us updated on their progress.

    One Bean. One Cup. One Community.