Country: Congo DRC, North Kivu (Butembo)
Sector: Cocoa, Coffee, Cinchona
Investment: Machinery and equipmentInvestment type: subordinated loan
Investment by Kampani: USD 537k
Disbursement: September 2023
Deal sourced by: BIO Invest
Soprocopiv is a farmer cooperative that sources, processes, and markets coffee, cocoa, and other agricultural commodities. There are currently 9,636 members (5,036 members producing Arabica coffee, 2,600 producing Robusta coffee and 2,000 producing cocoa), making it one of the largest agricultural cooperatives in the region. Most of the cooperative’s revenues comes from coffee, but since 2021, it has expanded its commercial activities to include cocoa and cinchona. Soprocopiv coffees have Organic, Rainbow Alliance/UTZ and Fair for Life certification, ensuring it is sustainable. The cooperative also plays a role in facilitating access to production methods and certification for its members. Its 18 washing stations are located close to its producers, to avoid competition from uncertified coffee in neighbouring Uganda.
Cherries purchased from members are processed and dried at Soprocopiv’s existing washing stations before being transported to Butembo. The cooperative’s goal is to get as close as possible to the producers by increasing the number of washing stations so that coffee can be processed on the same day it is harvested. This will make for better quality, and reduce the risk of side-selling by the farmers who will no longer have to transport the cherries for long distances. As well as financing the building of four new stations, Kampani’s investment will also enable five older ones to be upgraded and modernised. Securing and increasing the coffee supply and improving its quality, is the best route to improving members’ incomes.
In Congo, some 60 to 70% of the employed population is involved in agriculture. But in terms of contribution to GDP, it accounts for some 20%. The agro-industrial sector is small and underdeveloped with weak value chains. Soprocopiv is recognized as the biggest sustainably certified cooperative in the Butembo region, and the number of members Soprocopiv works with has already made its impact highly visible.
Being part of the cooperative allows farmers in the region of North Kivu, a region which has been politically unstable for many years, to have a reliable off-take and a stable source of income. The cooperatives – spread over 16 villages – are located in remote locations and would not have access to specialty coffee markets on their own. This is where Sorpocopiv’s USP is most visible. For farmers, selling their products to Soprocopiv offers significant opportunities as it is their main source of cash income.