Press releases

ITC teams up with Sucafina and Jacobs Douwe Egberts to empower women coffee producers in Rwanda

1 March 2017
ITC News

New collaboration aims to strengthen participation of women across coffee supply chain.

(Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) and Sucafina together with Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) today announced a new partnership to support coffee exporters, processors, and farmers in Rwanda. The collaboration will have a particular focus on women’s economic empowerment and on ensuring greater participation by women in the coffee supply chain.

At the heart of the new partnership is the strengthening of women’s participation at all levels of the coffee supply chain and improved processing across Rwanda’s coffee sector.
The partnership will improve the coffee processing capabilities of Rwandan exporters and empower women in the supply chain. Improved processing maximises coffee quality, increases prices and reduces pollution and water use. The work on service delivery will strengthen supply chain relationships so farmers can better benefit from training on enhancing productivity, crop quality and economic diversification – especially among women.

The three organizations will provide training to processing unit agronomists and lead farmers to ensure they are better able to assess farmers’ needs and have the tools to advise and guide them. The key will be to also improve communication and information flow along the supply chain. As part of the new partnership, ITC, Sucafina and Jacobs Douwe Egberts are teaming up with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), whose Rwandan members comprise 13 independent exporting companies and farmer cooperatives. Through IWCA members, together with washing stations already owned or supported by Rwacof, the Rwandan unit of Sucafina, more than 75,000 Rwandan small-scale farmers are set to benefit directly or indirectly from the partnership.

ITC Deputy Executive Director Dorothy Tembo said: ‘This new partnership with Sucafina and JDE will be a game-changer for the Rwandan coffee sector. By improving quality throughout the coffee value chain, all players – from farmers to exporters – will be able to achieve consistent premium prices for their coffee.’ She added that ‘creating more market opportunities will help improve the livelihoods for thousands of people especially for women entrepreneurs’.

David Behrends, Managing Partner and Head of Trading at Sucafina, said: ‘Projects like our collaboration with ITC is at the heart of Sucafina Sustainability Strategy to impact positively the lives of over 400,000 coffee growers while continuously improving the environmental standards. Increasing smallholder productivity and enabling all coffee supply-chain participants to make a living is fundamental to our business model.’

The partnership will also bring on board existing Sucafina partners, including Jacobs Douwe Egberts, one of the world’s largest coffee companies and the Kahawatu Foundation, which works in East Africa to empower coffee farmers. Jacobs Douwe Egberts has committed to providing financial support to the project and could purchase coffee from project farmers if quality specifications are met. Sake Farm, a woman-owned coffee plantation, processing unit, and exporter that supports 1,500 surrounding small-scale farmers, will be a focal point of the project and is where Jacobs Douwe Egberts’s contribution will be concentrated.

Nadia Hoarau-Mwaura, Sustainability Manager at Jacobs Douwe Egberts, said: 'We proudly collaborate with ITC and Sucafina to directly impact the lives of smallholders and their families by providing technical assistance and quality improvements.'

ITC and the Kahawatu Foundation, through Jacobs Douwe Egberts’s contribution, will rehabilitate Sake Farms’ plantation and processing unit, increasing the quantity and quality it produces and improving services to surrounding small-scale farmers. The combined support will build long-term markets for Sake Farm’s coffee, bringing investment to the farm and creating a positive eco-system for the small-scale farmers it supports.

Rwanda has been a long-standing partner of ITC in supporting women's economic empowerment, this collaboration will be scaled up with the launch in Kigali of SheTrades Rwanda in March, the national edition of ITC’s global initiative to connect women to market.

Notes for the Editor

ITC’s work to empower women in Rwanda’s coffee sector has been supported by the Empowering Women to Trade Programme and Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) project. Donors include United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Sucafina is a global green and roasted coffee merchant founded in 1977 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, with a family tradition in commodities that stretches back to 1905. 2017 is a special year for Sucafina as the company is celebrating its 40th anniversary. 

JDE is a global coffee and tea company, serving consumers in more than 100 countries through iconic brands including: Jacobs, Tassimo, Moccona, Senseo, L’OR, Douwe Egberts, Kenco, Pilao & Gevalia.

For more information, please contact:

International Trade Centre
Mr. Jarle Hetland
Media Officer
Office of the Executive Director
P: + 41 22 730 01451
M: + 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org )