MEET OUR FARMERS
Our Meet Our Farmers series provides a glimpse into the history, legacy and dedication of the farming families whom we partner with. When you purchase San Francisco Bay Coffee, you are joining our efforts to improve the lives of our farmers and those in their communities around the world.
November 25, 2020
Methoussel Sibomana, Rwanda
Methoussel Sibomana at his coffee farm in the Southern Province of Rwanda, Huye District
Rwanda is home to a great number of coffee growers, where the country’s lush and undulating hillsides are well suited to coffee production. San Francisco Bay Coffee works with 2,000 small plot coffee farmers in the Southern Province of Rwanda, and we are pleased to feature Methoussel Sibomana this month who is one of our top producers from the Huye District.
Methoussel was raised in a coffee farming family, where he and his siblings were taught coffee farming practices at a young age. Methoussel took a particularly strong interest in the coffee growing business, recognizing the importance it had for his family in terms of providing the income they needed for living expenses. “When the coffee was sold, my parents got the money to buy food, drink, school fees and clothes for the kids,” he shares.
When Methoussel turned 18, his parents gave him a small parcel of land so that he could begin growing coffee himself. He started with just 100 coffee plants. Since then, he has successfully increased his number of coffee trees to 3,500 and has been farming coffee professionally and providing for his own family since 1990.
Coffee from Methoussel's plantation, harvested and waiting to be dried.
Methoussel’s coffee plantation is spread across four different sites, all which are located near the spectacular Nyungwe National Park at 5,800 feet above sea level. The vast, mountainous region and surrounding forests attract substantial rainfall during the coffee growing season and boast both a favorable climate and preferred soil types that include sand and silt. Methoussel grows primarily Arabica varieties for San Francisco Bay Coffee, with a focus on bourbon species including BM139 and Jackson.
He currently employs five permanent workers at his farm, and an additional 12 workers who live nearby are brought on during the harvest season. Methoussel’s family members help supervise the workers in the areas of mulching, weeding, pruning, harvesting and transporting the harvested coffee cherries to the San Francisco Bay Coffee wet mill facility.
Methoussel credits San Francisco Bay Coffee with providing him, as well as neighboring farmers, with training about proper pruning and mulching techniques, fertilizer application, coffee planting, erosion control and soil management.
“The company’s agronomy team visits farmers frequently to check if there are specific needs in relation to pests or disease and then provides the appropriate insecticides and fertilizers along with practical application advice.”
~ Methoussel Sibomana
Methoussel is now receiving weather alerts via text message that help tremendously with key farming practices. He may also benefit in the future from a satellite app that is being developed in collaboration with Weathersafe Company and farmers like Methoussel to monitor farm health from overhead.
Methoussel notes that San Francisco Bay Coffee’s commitment to provide the best fixed coffee cherry price along with a bonus payment has helped area farmers tremendously. In addition to this financial support, the availability of a coffee washing station built by San Francisco Bay Coffee in nearby Kigoma has further increased the interest and motivation among many local farmers to grow coffee.
Methoussel’s short-term plans include a continued focus on improving the quality and quantity of his farm’s coffee production. He is also excited to soon purchase a motorcycle to assist with the transport of his coffee cherry yield, as well as to be able to build a new home for his family. His greatest wish, however, is to be able to visit other coffee farms, both inside Rwanda and beyond, to see what is new and learn about the best techniques for growing exceptional coffee for years to come.