March 31, 2015 12:36 UTC

Science & Technology

In Eastern DRC, Ex-Fighters Make a New Life With Coffee

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven)Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven)
x
Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven)
Bichera Ntamwinsa,23, picks berries from her coffee plants in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farmer field schools and agricultural cooperatives can help smallholder farmers gain skills while strengthening their common voice. (UNESCO/Tim Dirven)

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • In Eastern DRC, Ex-Fighters Make a New Life With Coffee

From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report in Special English.
 
A cooperative in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is giving Congolese coffee exports a fresh start. The co-op is trying to do the same for former rebels and soldiers. They are being encouraged to make a better and safer living from coffee.
 
The co-op is called Sopacdi. Its headquarters are in Minova, a fast-growing town along Lake Kivu. Many people trying to escape conflict have moved there.
 
The co-op began in two thousand three. Last year Sopacdi began selling coffee in British stores. It had help from a British nongovernmental organization called TWIN and the British development agency. TWIN helps producers in developing countries sell to supermarket operators in the West.
 
Joachim Munganga is the president of the co-op. He says getting a "fair trade" certificate for Congolese coffee took two years. The group had to meet requirements involving respect for the environment and workers’ contracts. This year the co-op won an organic certificate and it now has seven buyers in Europe, the United States and Japan.
 
The purpose of the co-op is not simply to produce coffee. Joachim Munganga says the founders of Sopacdi were trying to find ways to help resolve ethnic conflicts in the area. So they brought coffee producers together and persuaded them to form a co-op.
 
Members of rival ethnic communities now work together at the co-op’s different offices. Sopacdi has three thousand six hundred members. They all work for themselves. But they also work together to elect leaders and promote common interests.
 
John Buchugwazi is one of the leaders of the co-op.
 
He says the co-op has shown its members how to get better yields and improve quality.
 
Coffee growers also needed better access to markets. Smugglers were taking most of the coffee from the area at night across Lake Kivu to Rwanda. Many of the smugglers drowned in the sudden storms that develop on the lake.
 
With the co-op, there are trucks that take the coffee to Sopacdi's own washing station. There a machine depulps the coffee berries that contain the beans -- in other words, removes the outer flesh. Doing this process by hand takes a long time and can mean a loss of freshness.
 
About one hundred sixty people work at the washing station. Many were fighters.
 
This former rebel says he is very happy with his new job. He now spends his nights in a house, instead of sleeping in the forest.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shige from: Japan
11/08/2012 6:46 AM
It is very hard for smugglers to carry coffee from the area at night across Lake. But they must take coffee to make their living.

I think getting better access to markets is needed.


by: Yoshihide Inui from: Tokyo, Japan
11/08/2012 4:25 AM
Some parts are missing just after the sentence "Doing this process by hand takes a long time and can mean a loss of freshness."

In Response

by: Yoshihide Inui from: Tokyo
11/11/2012 1:02 AM
In the text, "But the co-op president says the DRC's twelve percent export on coffee still invites smuggling. Rwanda's tax is one percent." should follow the sentence "Doing this process by hand takes a long time and can mean a loss of freshness." Am I correct?

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
11/13/2012 12:01 AM
Hi, Yoshi in Tokyo!?. I didn't notice your notice. I suppose "But the co-op president says the DRC's twelve percent export on coffee still invites smuggling. Rwanda's tax is one percent." follows "many of the smugglers drowned in the sudden storms that develope on the lake."


by: cuong nguyen from: viet nam
11/07/2012 8:24 AM
like.


by: Olimar Oliveira from: Bahia Brasil
11/07/2012 7:12 AM
"Former rebel spends his nights in a house, instead of sleeping in the forest". This is very important, because the former rebel and former soldier together working e in peace.
And it alenm are growing coffee of quality and too protecting the enviromentand too respecting the rights of workers


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
11/07/2012 1:42 AM
It' awesome those who used to be rebels and soldiers are also working together in the co-op to resolve the ethnic conflics. I'm proud Japanese buyers are included in trade partners of Sopacdi. I would love to enjoy coffee from DRC as well as those from Vietnam, number one coffee beans exporting country in the world this year.

Learn with The News

  • Conversion of forests to agricultural use create starkly different habitats for small mammals that carry zoonotic disease such as plague, resulting in increased risk of plague transmission. (Photo Credit: Douglas McCauley)

    Audio Land-Use Changes May Increase Risk of Plague

    Efforts to increase food production in Africa may be increasing the risk of plague infection. A new report looks at efforts to clear land for farming in natural, undeveloped areas of Tanzania. The report links the development of croplands to an increase in the number of rats carrying the plague. More

  • Video Ceramic Guitar Proves Good for Rockin'

    Musicians have been using clay, or ceramic, wind and percussion instruments for a long time. But a rock guitarist in Spain is now attracting audiences with not only his music, but his unique ceramic guitar. Luis Martin says there is a unique quality of sound bouncing off ceramic material. More

  • A woman wakes up on downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row, March 7, 2013.

    Video Community Center Helps Women on Skid Row

    Many homeless people live in the “Skid Row” area of Los Angeles, California. These men and women have no permanent place to live. Skid Row is a place where many social service groups can be found. They work to help the homeless find work and a place to live. One such organization works with women. More

  • Iran - Nuclear

    Audio Difference Remains in Iran's Nuclear Talks

    How to dispose of Iran’s nuclear materials remains a barrier. Also, Arab-coalition airstrikes continue in Yemen; France's Socialist Party faces election losses; Nigerians vote for president; the U.S. and South Korea hold joint military exercises; and blogger killed in Bangladesh. More

  • Audio Chinese Development Bank Gains Members

    The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, proposed by China, is aimed at financing infrastructure projects in Asian countries. The United States has voiced concerns about how the bank might affect organizations such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. But some U.S. allies have joined. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio New Treatment for AIDS Called a ‘Big Deal’

    Read on to learn words like mutate, neutralize and antiretroviral as you learn how researchers have found a way to trick HIV, the virus causing AIDS, into killing itself. The difficulty level might be high as this article describes what happens when a genetically modified cell becomes an HIV killer. More

  • Video Angelina Jolie Has Second Surgery to Prevent Cancer

    The 39-year-old actress published a piece in The New York Times about her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to protect herself from cancer. She had a double mastectomy two years ago for the same reason. The latest surgery leaves the mother of six unable to have more children. More

  • Space Rocket to Launch Weather Satellite Into Deep Space

    Video Satellite Will Watch Sun Storms, Send Warnings to Earth

    Strong storms on the sun can cause problems for satellites, radio communications and even airplane travel. A satellite is now traveling 1.5 million kilometers to enter the sun’s orbit, just in time to observe the extreme weather on the sun at its most violent time the sun’s 11-year cycle. More

  • An employee plays the game Flappy Bird at a smartphone store in Hanoi, Feb. 10, 2014.

    Audio Too Much Gaming is a Pain in the Neck

    Smartphones and other electronic devices, or gadgets, are becoming more affordable. Children in India are using them more and more. Doctors say children who spend long hours playing video games are increasingly showing signs of physical deformities, meaning their bodies are not growing properly. More

  • Video Secrets of a Saddle-Maker

    People began riding horses thousands of years ago. Saddles for horseback riding were invented soon after. Today, many companies manufacture saddles. But it is rare to find someone who designs and makes these products by hand. American Keith Valley is one of the few. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs