Root Capital donated Covid-19 preventive materials worth over Rwf64 million ($67,700) to a total of 17,650 coffee farmers and the staff of their cooperatives.
Founded in 1999, Root Capital works in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia.
The Organization supplies agricultural businesses with financial capital and training to help them grow.
The donation was disbursed to farmers through Rwanda Small Holder Specialty Coffee Company (RWASHOSCCO) and MISOZI, two companies owned by coffee cooperatives and make export deals on behalf of these cooperatives.
6 cooperatives are under RWASHOSCCO, whereas MISOZI works with 5 cooperatives.
The above 11 cooperatives that benefited from the donation are located in Gakenke, Rusizi, Huye, Nyamagabe, Gatsibo, Ngoma, Rutsiro, Karongi districts.
The supplies included bar and liquid soaps, gloves, mobile hand washing stations known as ‘kandagira ukarabe’,5000 litre tanks, posters depicting Covid-19 preventive measures and thermo flashes.
Some of these resources were given to coffee farmers and cooperative workers directly, whereas others shall be deposited at cooperative offices, coffee washing stations and dry mills.
Donating the Covid-19 preventive materials officially kicked-off in Gakenke district, Northern Province on Thursday, July 23, in Coko and Ruli sectors.
At the occasion, Angelique Karekezi, the Managing Director of RWASHOSCCO praised the cooperation between Root Capital and local coffee farmers and most importantly during the Covid-19 crisis.
“We already have a strong partnership with Root Capital especially in regards to financial and capacity building. We are very delighted that they stood with us even during this pandemic because coffee farmers can also contract Covid-19 if preventive measures are not observed,” she said.
Karekezi added that: “The support means a lot considering that Root Capital has roots in the USA where the pandemic had severely affected lots of things and they still selflessly gave us a helping hand.”
At the occasion, farmers and heads of coffee cooperatives were urged to play the remaining role of taking care of the support they were given and abide to Covid-19 preventive guidelines as they also work to increase coffee productivity.
Coffee farmers thrilled with the support
Astheria Mukamuneza, a coffee farmer under Twongere Kawa Coko cooperative, noted that the donation came at the right time.
“The support comes to strengthen already existing disciplines that we were observing to protect our selves, family members and colleagues from contracting this Virus,” she said.
Another coffee farmer called Domitille Mutuyimana also commended the act.
She said: “We are delighted with this support because it will enable us to continue observing set preventive measures and protect our colleagues too.”
Rwanda is currently one of the countries still addressing Covid-19 and its diverse effects, and the government has consistently noted that everyone’s contribution will be necessary in ensuring that the pandemic is fully contained.
While other sectors have been previously halted in bid to curb the spread of this pandemic, the agriculture sector was still operational but in adherence to Covid-19 set preventive measures.
According to Karekezi, coffee production has also been affected though not at a high rate as compared to other sectors of the economy.