SOPACDI is located in Kivu, DRC, an area that has been wracked by ethnic- and gender-based violence that has destroyed the local economy and all but virtually extinguished the coffee sector.
The Koperasi Baitul Qiradh Baburrayyan (KBQB) is an independent registered co-operative originally formed in 2002 by 63 farmers in the Indonesian Province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), specifically in the highland District of Central Aceh. However, because of the internal civil war being waged within the province, it did not commence any significant coffee operations until after the peace treaty had been signed in August 2005, following the devastation of the Aceh coastal areas caused by the massive earthquake and tsunami that occurred late in 2004.
In October 2005, following the formation of a USAID development aid project, managed by the National Cooperative Business Association (of the USA) [NCBA], the KBQB decided to make a joint operation agreement with NCBA, and the co-operative has significantly developed its coffee operations, both in membership and business aspects since those times. The membership of KBQB currently stands at 6,500 farmer producers, who are now all internationally certified as organic producers, as well as being certified as part of the international Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO). For ease of control, internal inspection procedures and certification, the KBQB is currently organized into 121 sub-regional farm groups, covering all sub-districts (except one) of the two main districts.
The KBQB is currently operational in the two central highlands Districts of Aceh, Central Aceh and Bener Meriah, an area comprising a former minor kingdom, and known as Gayo Land. Both these districts are of high altitude, with a minimum of about 800 meters above sea level (asl) to the highest peak – a volcano that rises to 2,590 meters asl. Apart from the high valleys, where most of the Arabica coffee is grown, the central feature of the area is a large fresh water lake (Lake Lut Tawar), which provides an attractive setting for the principal town of the area – Takengon, where the KBQB operations are centered (1,200 meters asl).
The coffee harvest season is typically from October until June, although not much coffee is received in January and February. The farmer members remove the fleshy outer layer of their coffee and wash it before transporting the wet parchment (about 40% moisture), to the operation’s processing facility at Wih Nareh just outside Takengon in Central Aceh. At the processing facility, the wet parchment is spread out on tarpaulins to dry under the sun until it reaches a moisture content of about 22%, when the coffee is then hulled. After hulling, the coffee is further solar dried (a couple of days) until it reaches a moisture content of about 15%; then, after about 20 days rest to stabilize, it is taken into the factory building, and subjected to both mechanical and hand sorting procedures. All in all, the processing facility provides about 800 jobs for local workers each season, which includes about 200 jobs specifically for women who perform the hand sorting tasks.
The main varietal types of coffee in the area are Hybrido do Timor, and a variety known as "Arteng," both of which are Catamores. The cupping characteristics of the semi-washed Arabica coffee produced are typically earthy and full bodied with light acid tones.