The name "Migoti" comes from a local indigenous tree, which is also the name of the mountain where Migoti built his first coffee washing station.
This washing station operates in a region called Migoti Mountain, in the commune of Mutambu in the province of Bujumbura, 30 km from the centre of Bujumbura. Coffee cultivation and production started in Burundi in the early 20th century under Belgian colonial rule, where farmers were forced to grow coffee, the production was bought and processed by the state and the coffee was mainly exported to Europe. The sector was privatised in the 1960s, then taken over by the state from 1976 to 1991, and a new wave of privatisation began in 1991.
Following the civil war of the 1990s, coffee has slowly emerged as a means to rebuild the agricultural sector and increase foreign exchange, with increased investment and a somewhat healthy balance of both private and state-owned coffee enterprises. However, following the 2015 political crisis and subsequent economic slump, the coffee sector has struggled to live up to expectations and the potential to stimulate Burundi's economic growth.
Burundi is one of the smallest coffee producing countries in East Africa, with a population of 10.5 million people with ideal conditions for coffee production: elevations of 1500 - 2000 m, Arabica Bourbon coffee trees, abundant rainfall and approximately 800,000 families cultivating an average of 150-200 coffee trees per farm. Today, arabica coffee accounts for almost 100% of Burundi's national production, and the bourbon variety grown at high altitude in Burundi is characterised as "sweet, with bright acidity, full-bodied, floral, citrusy and spicy with wild notes". Over the past 25 years, coffee production in Burundi has averaged 26,700 tonnes per year.
In 2016, Migoti Coffee Company built a coffee washing station on Migoti Mountain, partnering with industry experts who provided technical expertise. The coffee trees are owned by the community, and Migoti buys coffee cherries directly from the farmers who harvest and deliver the cherries to our station. Over 300 tonnes of green coffee were produced and exported from Migoti Mountain in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 coffee seasons. These crops have received excellent cupping scores, often ranking it as one of the best specialty coffees from Burundi.
The washing station is managed by a local team of ten permanent employees and more than 250 temporary workers hired during the coffee season from March to June.
The station manager, Zephyrin Banzubaze, is responsible for managing all the staff to train the coffee farmers, receive and select the coffee cherries, process the coffee, supervise the coffee drying process, store and grind the dried parchment coffee and prepare the final green coffee for export. Most of the temporary staff are women, who work mainly on the raised drying tables, regularly turning the coffee as it dries and removing defective beans that compromise the quality of the coffee. Migoti also assists farmers through ongoing training in proper pruning and care of coffee trees, intercropping, planting shade trees, using green manures, soil stabilisation and natural pest control. It is hoped that by following best agricultural practices, farmers can increase the yields of their coffee trees by a factor of five or ten.