Rebuilding Rwanda, cοffee

Rebuilding Rwanda: The power of a mother’s love

In rebuilding Rwanda, we look at the power of a mother’s love and her resilience to develop her business plan and process coffee more efficiently after surviving time in a refugee camp.

After losing her husband to malaria, Athanasie and her family returned to Rwandα to farm coffee. As a single parent, she was worried about how she would survive.

With the training she received from TechnoServe, Athanasie worked hard to create a healthy and prosperous future for her family – one coffee tree at a time.

When violence broke out in Rwanda in 1994, Athanasie was 20 years old and eight months pregnant. Along with her husband and son, she fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania.

Rebuilding Rwanda, cοffee

The trip was hard as she was nauseous and could barely walk. When they arrived, conditions were challenging, “we were packed together like blades of grass,” Athanasie explains.

Read also: Rice farmers optimistic about Warehouse Receipt System Project

There, she gave birth to a daughter. Because food supplies were limited in the refugee camp, she couldn’t breastfeed her daughter and she thought she was going to die.

“I will give you a name if you survive,” she said. They did survive and Athanasie named her daughter Nzamwitakuze.

They returned to Rwandα to settle down as farmers. Tragically, Athanasie’s husband died shortly thereafter from malaria, leaving her a young widow with two children and her parents to support, struggling to make ends meet.

Rebuilding Rwanda with Coffee Income

Athanasie turned to coffee farming. She joined TechnoServe’s agronomy and business training program as part of the Coffee Initiative.

Look around, it’s all poverty. Cοffee is what brings us money.”
— Athanasie Musabyimana

Using what she learned from the programme, Athanasie increased the yields and the quality of her cοffee harvest.

“From TechnoServe, I learned better composting, better pruning, and how to use fertilizer for coffee.”

TechnoServe also helped coffee cooperatives access financing to build wet mills. The new wet mills enabled farmers like Athanasie to get better prices for their coffee cherries.

But what I really learned was how to rejuvenate my trees. The quality was so good that we sold it to Starbucks.”
— Athanasie Musabyimana

Read also: Agric Ministry encourages use of organic fertilizer to lessen impact of fertilizer crisis

Hard Work Equals Success

As her income grew over the years, Athanasie continued to invest in her farm, buying more land and doubling her coffee holdings. By 2014, Athanasie had tripled her income, earning approximately $420 for the year.

Rebuilding Rwanda, The power of mother's love, coffee
Athanasie is expanding the house where she lives with her parents and children.

Athanasie now runs a successful cοffee farm and has expanded into growing maize. The boost in income has enabled her to support her household of six, affording medical insurance for her extended family and school fees for her children.

Athanasie’s son, Ndimubanzi Jean Bosco, farms with his mother, and her younger daughter, Uwineza Denise, attends school.

Her daughter, Nzamwitakuze Dina, has not only survived but thrived: she recently completed the first phase of secondary school and hopes to attend college.

The profits from her farm have also allowed Athanasie to start renovating and expanding her house.

Read also: Honey hunting to beekeeping: The story of Hawa Ibrahim, the best beekeeper in Kwahu Afram Plains

In this short video, meet Athanasie, hear about her farming challenges, and learn how TechnoServe taught her how to develop a business plan and process cοffee more efficiently.

The Choice Press is an online news portal that seeks to project what the gallant small-scale farmers in Africa are doing. We basically report on everything that has to do with agriculture and agribusiness, especially in Ghana.
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