How Nespresso is growing hope through coffee in farming communities like Congo

·3-min read
PHOTO: Nespresso. Uganda coffee farmer
PHOTO: Nespresso. Uganda coffee farmer

Four decades ago, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was famous for its coffee. At that time, the crop was the most important export for the country and the second-largest in Africa with a population of 105 million. The shores of Lake Kivu produced particularly exquisite Arabica coffee, thanks to the rain-rich volcanic soils and the skills of local farmers.

However, years of conflict and political and economic instability have devastated the coffee industry (production has fallen tenfold since 1980) and farming communities.

Through its Reviving Origins programme, Nespresso is working to restore coffee agriculture and local coffee economies in Kivu by helping farmers to improve coffee quality and productivity, and embed sustainable farming practices while increasing their incomes. 

It’s the latest chapter of the Reviving Origins story, which was launched in 2019, with the introduction of distinctive seasonal single-origin coffees from Zimbabwe and Colombia, followed by Uganda last year. Farmers are producing speciality coffees like TAMUKU mu ZIMBABWE (Awakening of Zimbabwe) and ESPERANZA de COLOMBIA (Hope of Columbia) for coffee-lovers to discover.

PHOTO: Nespresso. Reviving Origins
PHOTO: Nespresso. Reviving Origins

Supporting gender equality

In Kivu, Nespresso has worked with 2,800 farmers, partnering with international welfare organisations and non-profits like TechnoServe and USAID. Farmers receive training through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, offered to one man and one woman from each household to support gender equality.

Reviving Origins also aims to tackle healthcare challenges in DRC, with initiatives that provide clean water and medical treatment — currently, 15 per cent of children do not reach their fifth birthday because of preventable illnesses such as cholera, malaria and respiratory infections.

Coffee lovers can now enjoy the new organic KAHAWA ya Congo (Hope of Congo) coffee, a smooth and fruity seasonal limited blend. Nespresso believes it’s a perfect demonstration of its core values: That coffee can be a powerful force for good. The brand has recently launched a Made with Care platform to shed light on the deep human care that is invested in every stage of bringing these coffees to your cups.

The long-term objective of the Reviving Origins programme is to establish these increasingly scarce coffees as permanent blends, available all year round for consumers to enjoy.

PHOTO: Nespresso. Zimbabwe
PHOTO: Nespresso. Zimbabwe

Transforming lives

Reviving Origins has been transformative for Congolese communities. “I see my remaining days being better than those in the past, because I am going to work, assured of receiving regular pay and a bonus each time after the coffee sale,” says farmer Turanvi Kabasura, who learnt new techniques for managing his coffee plants and secured a price premium for his crops. He continues: “In my whole life, no one has ever given me such a bonus. I can use that to develop other strategies, such as raising small livestock, or my wife can run a small business. I am starting to see the results of my work.”

Made with Care

PHOTO: Nespresso
PHOTO: Nespresso

The brand’s long-time ambassador George Clooney is proud to be involved. “Nespresso and I have always shared a passion for sustainability and farmer welfare. And if the past year has shown anything, it’s that care is pivotal to communities’ well-being and resilience”, he says. “That’s why I feel privileged to stand alongside people with the same values in the ‘Made with Care’ movement – from activists, to celebrities, to some of the most dedicated farmers and coffee experts I have ever met. Together, we are committed to sustainability, fairness and to ensuring we can enjoy great coffee for generations to come.”

Now you can taste all the exquisite Reviving Origins coffees for yourself. Discover the stories of deep human care waiting to be told at www.nespresso.com.

In partnership with Nespresso.