Coffee is the main source of income for a large number of households and provides major foreign currencies for the national economy. Although it covers only 6.3% of cultivated areas, coffee is produced by 500,000 households in Rwanda. Since its introduction in the country in 1904, coffee has always been operated by individual producers. However, after the liberalization of the coffee sector in 1998, the quantity and quality produced are steadily decreasing which affects the price and the income of coffee growers. To search for a solution, the Rwandan government has striven to consolidate coffee growing cooperatives in different parts of the country by building coffee washing stations (CWS). These stations were mainly meant to help coffee growing cooperatives produce high quality coffee which is competitive on the international markets. The goal is to produce a fully washed coffee, exportable and better valued on the international market, which can provide better income for peasant producers. Coffee washing stations are then seen as tools to produce quality coffee and are mainly run by cooperatives, which are structural elements in the rural world. Through these facilities and structures put in place, jobs are created for coffee producers, loans are granted, farmers are motivated due to the increase of income, the market is guaranteed and the prices become attractive for the members. Thus, the socio-economic welfare of coffee growers is improved, which reduces poverty among coffee growers’ households. This study focuses on the analysis of the role resulting from the structuring action of the peasants through CWS and coffee cooperative KOPAKAMA Rutsiro District, Western Province of Rwanda on the socio-economic development and technical assistance of members and the surrounding world.
Key words: KOPAKAMA Cooperative, coffee, coffee washing stations (CWS), growers, socio-economic development.
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