A personal testimonial from Fiacre Dushimimana (26 years, Rwanda):
"Nice to meet you! I am Fiacre Dushimimana, 26 years old. I’m married and I have one child. I live in Gakenke district, Rushashi sector in the Northern Province of Rwanda and my education is a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship. Let me tell you my story.
Before I joined Abakundakawa coffee cooperative, I did not know the value of coffee. I always thought coffee farmers did not get enough income out of coffee farming, or that farmers spent their money on unnecessary things. I used to see them working hard in their coffee land, but again I did not see any remarkable socio-economic development to many of them, which discouraged me a lot.
In 2018, Abakundakawa cooperative in partnership with Agriterra organized a football competition in our region and we were told that the event aimed at mobilizing young people to get involved in coffee farming as well as joining the cooperative. Every time before and after the match, the cooperative, Agriterra and local government representatives shared their messages to encourage youth to join cooperatives.
Because of information I got at that event, me and other youths changed the beliefs we had about coffee farming and we decided to join Abakundakawa cooperative. The first hurdle that needed to be taken was to get a nominal share to join the cooperative. Fortunately, the cooperative took the decision of reducing the share price for new youths who wanted to join the cooperative from 30,000 to 15,000 Rwandan Francs (equal from 30 to 15 Dollars) and this has been applied for a period of 6 months. It is in that period that we joined the cooperative.
After becoming a member of our cooperative, I gained different skills about growing of coffee. The knowledge acquired was advanced and different from what I knew about coffee in the beginning. I decided to plant 120 coffee trees and I have a plan of increasing the number of coffee trees up 500 by 2021.
At Abakundakawa cooperative, in partnership with Agriterra, I attended various training about subjects as youth in agriculture, governance, cooperative management, marketing and
communication, making compost manure and organic farming.
Thanks to that, I have the ability of growing coffee in professional manner. I have ambition of putting more effort into growing coffee and other related business opportunities, to make money out of it. Today, I am convinced that coffee sector is a profitable business and has ample of opportunities along the entire value chain.
I thank my cooperative and Agriterra for their support. They made me to love coffee farming! Today we have a youth council and luckily, I was elected to be the secretary of the youth committee. In total, our cooperative has 2132 members of which 288 are youths. I will make sure that the knowledge am still acquiring will be transferred to other farmers in a way of contributing to the socio-economic livelihood of our cooperative members."